AMS Spring 2023

Rolls Royce Chooses SLM Solutions’ SLM 500 Quad-Laser for Aerospace Additive Manufacturing Processes

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Rolls Royce continues their foray into additive manufacturing on an even larger scale, selecting the SLM Solutions’ SLM®500 quad-laser machine, furthering progressive production; however, these parts are not meant for their cars, but instead will aid in fabrication of aerospace components—an industry where they also lead in manufacturing of quality engines common to Airbus and Boeing.

Headquartered in Germany (with other offices around the globe), SLM Solutions Group AG is a manufacturer of AM technology and multi-laser machines. Their expertise in multi-laser optics, along with a patented bi-directional recoating mechanism offers significant credibility to their brand, with the SLM 500—on the market since 2013—boasting four lasers enabling build rates up to 171 cm3.

“The SLM®500 serves as the flagship metal 3D printer for high volume processes while offering automated, closed-loop material supply, recovery and sieving to minimize operator handling of metal powder,” states the company in a recent press release sent to 3DPrint.com.

The SLM®500 build chamber

While Rolls Royce is certainly no stranger to precision in parts, as well as accommodating safety measures, building aerospace components lends an even higher level of challenge in production due to stringent certifications required for every part.

“Rolls-Royce is very advanced in additive layer manufacturing, with a state-of-the-art approach and expert team working on extremely complex metal additive manufacturing solutions. SLM Solutions recognized the need at Rolls-Royce for a supplier to support with equipment qualification,” said Meddah Hadjar, CEO of SLM Solutions Group AG.

“We work closely to develop products that meet their needs to assure aerospace certified part quality levels. This way the Rolls-Royce team can document their expertise and control of the systems adhering to strict regulations and keep their ambitious and innovative additive production plans on track.”

While Rolls-Royce has complex manufacturing needs, along with a checklist for industry aerospace regulations and inspections to be considered, they also must meet the obvious demands for productivity. With the four laser SLM 500, and the control of inert gas flow, they can keep a constantly controlled work atmosphere in the build chamber, with gas flow and control mechanisms perfected.

” We are delighted to be working with SLM Solutions and using their quad-laser machines. Rolls-Royce continues to develop our additive layer manufacturing capability to ensure we are at the forefront of advanced manufacturing,” said Neil Mantle, Head of Additive Layer Manufacturing at Rolls-Royce. “We knew that transferring our expertise and knowledge gained from single laser machines to multi-laser platforms would require a close working relationship and SLM Solutions have provided this.”

Rolls-Royce is now part of the SLM Solutions beta customer program too, as they all look forward to new machine accessories in the future.

Embracing additive manufacturing quietly for decades, the automotive industry continues to roll out impressive new prototypes and parts—from BMW to Ford to a range of racing cars—and even the top of the line at Rolls Royce, with their Phantom bearing over 10,000 3D printed parts, and future plans for their luxury vehicles, such as personalized exteriors. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source / Images: SLM Solutions]

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