Switzerland-based technology and engineering group Oerlikon is partnering up with Lufthansa Technik to improve additive manufacturing processes (particularly their replication/ repeatability). The companies are looking to make a more consistent quality standard that conforms to maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) applications. Currently, they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to move forward on the project.
The companies are looking to create robust and repeatable processes for additive manufacturing. They will attempt to achieve these goals by employing a set of rigid production guidelines. These representative component geometrics, coupled with exact process parameters and powder specifications, will be the standard that both the companies’ global facilities will adhere to. Oerlikon’s facilities will be in North Carolina and Barleben, while Lufthansa’s are in Hamburg.
The collaboration between the companies may yield important findings about consistency and repeatability. Both companies are approaching the research for similar reasons. Lufthansa Technik Group is one of the leading providers of technical aircraft services in the world. Their main stock and trade is maintenance, production and design. Similarly, Oerlikon also has it’s interests in the world of aerospace, along with automotive, general industries and tooling, energy, apparel & industrial textiles and agriculture.
Print Replication Standards
“We are confident that Oerlikon’s extensive expertise in additive manufacturing and the aerospace industry, combined with our proven ability to integrate solutions throughout the manufacturing value chain on a global scale will bring great benefits to Lufthansa Technik.” Said Oerlikon Group CEO Dr Roland Fischer.
The companies will employ these component geometrics across the facilities on identical printers. The partnership will continue for about a year but they may renew it, expanding to include more printers. As they collect more data, they may test output with other variables and models to measure consistency under different conditions.
Both companies will also share their findings with various professional bodies, helping the industry as a whole. The research could help set-up a standard for quality, which is one of the major issues 3D printing currently has. Similar projects have previously tried to assess these faults within the industry as well. Repeatability has always been a bit of an obstacle, especially when companies are hesitant to adapt to new methods. Hopefully, such a project can help steer the additive manufacturing world forward.
Featured images courtest of Oerlike and Lufthansa Technik, retrieved via their respective websites.