Additive manufacturing might not be brand new anymore, but it’s still new enough that for many industries, standards are still in development. Standards are an important part of any industry, but they’re particularly crucial for industries like aerospace in which parts are being used to transport people thousands of miles above the Earth. Now, just a few months after SAE International announced work toward aerospace standards for polymer additive manufacturing, the Aerospace Material Specification Committee on Additive Manufacturing (AMS-AM) at SAE International has released its first suite of Aerospace Material Specifications for additive manufacturing materials and process specifications.

In 2015, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials issued a task request asking SAE to form a standards committee to develop aerospace material specifications and related documents for the certification of additively manufactured parts used on aircraft. According to the FAA, there is “no room for error or inferior quality” on aircraft, which is why standards are of the utmost importance.

“The industry consensus standards that SAE is generating through its AMS-AM Committee greatly facilitate the implementation of additive manufacturing in the aerospace sector,” said Dave Abbott, Principal Engineer at GE Additive and AMS-AM committee member. “By establishing the appropriate level of rigor and control, the specifications will ensure both quality and consistency in AM products and services.”

[Image: SAE]

The AMS-AM committee is made up of more than 350 participants from over 15 countries representing aircraft, spacecraft, and engine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), material suppliers, operators, equipment/system suppliers, service providers, regulatory authorities, and defense agencies. These committee members will continue to develop AMS for metal and polymer 3D printing in the aerospace industry.

The four new standards are:

  • AMS7000: Laser-Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) Produced Parts, Nickel Alloy, Corrosion and Heat-Resistant, 62Ni – 21.5Cr – 9.0Mo – 3.65Nb Stress Relieved, Hot Isostatic Pressed and Solution Annealed
  • AMS7001: Nickel Alloy, Corrosion and Heat-Resistant, Powder for Additive Manufacturing, 62Ni – 21.5Cr – 9.0Mo – 3.65Nb
  • AMS7002: Process Requirements for Production of Metal Powder Feedstock for Use in Additive Manufacturing of Aerospace Parts
  • AMS7003: Laser Powder Bed Fusion Process

“Tremendous effort was expended by industry and regulatory stakeholders from North America, Europe and beyond to develop this initial suite of material and process specifications which help address the regulatory authorities’ request for guidance material for this emerging technology,” said David Alexander, Director of Aerospace Standards at SAE International.

“SAE looks forward to assisting with the migration from point design to material qualification by continuing to develop additive manufacturing aerospace material and process documents containing statistically validated specification minimum values. Given that advanced materials and advanced manufacturing are strategic focus areas for SAE International, we are committed to supporting the aerospace industry’s adoption of additive manufacturing technologies.”

[Image: Airbus]

The initial AMS-AM standardization project, established in July 2015, addressed metallic materials and processes for laser powder bed fusion-produced nickel-based alloy 625.

The primary objectives of the AMS-AM committee, according to SAE, are to:

  • Develop Aerospace Material Specifications (AMS) for the procurement of additive precursor and manufactured materials (including metals, plastics, ceramics, composites, and hybrids) made by additive technologies
  • Develop specifications for processing and fabrication of aerospace end products
  • Establish a system to ensure material specifications are controlled and traceable to statistically substantiated data

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