AMS Spring 2023

MT Aerospace & AddUp Continue Qualifying Applications for DED 3D Printing

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Metal OEM AddUp, a joint venture by Michelin and Fives, offers both powder bed fusion (PBF) and directed energy deposition (DED) 3D printers. Based in France, the company’s North American subsidiary is in Cincinnati, Ohio, and functions as a single operating unit to provide metal 3D printing services to the company’s U.S. customers. AddUp’s technology has applications in the medical, consumer goods, tooling, and aerospace fields, and it’s been working with experts from Germany’s MT Aerospace for the last two years to speed up the industrialization of DED technology. Now, the two have announced an extension of their partnership to qualify applications using DED.

MT Aerospace, a subsidiary of the OHB Group, is one of the leading European suppliers for the aeronautics and space industries, specializing in fluid storage. The technology company, which employs 600 people around the world, has over 50 years of experience in lightweight construction and component optimization for creating prototypes to small series using 3D printing. In addition to being the main supplier of drinking water and wastewater storage systems for Airbus group aircraft, MT Aerospace also designs and manufactures fuel tanks for satellites and space launchers, including for the European ARIANE 5 program; in fact, it is the largest supplier for ARIANE outside France.

Satellite tank half-shell production

While it has expertise in metal and composite processing, MT Aerospace also specializes in metal 3D printing, specifically DED, because of its AddUp Modulo 400 printer. Designed for industrial production, this machine sprays metal powder through a high-powered laser beam to print parts with high mechanical characteristics and fine surface finishes. MT Aerospace has tested it on several materials, including reactive ones like titanium, and has now acquired an additional Modulo 400 system to integrate into its platform.

The addition of this second DED 3D printer from AddUp will aid MT Aerospace in its efforts to move more quickly toward 3D printing for series production. The company is preparing to set up a full industrial platform centered around DED printing, including design skills and production, part inspection, and post-processing capabilities, which will all be compatible with the EN 9100 standard for the aerospace sector.

Satellite tank 3D printed out of titanium

According to an AddUp press release, MT Aerospace has already convinced “numerous principals of interest in the DED process,” and like a self-fulfilling prophecy, will use the second Modulo to “accompany the increase in production volumes” that it’s expecting in the next few years. Having two Modulo 400 DED systems will allow the company to work in several directions at once, such as speeding up qualification phases for satellite fuel tanks with the European Space Agency, developing new applications for micro-launchers and satellites, and expanding AM services to other industries, such as energy and automotive. At the same time, the doubled production capacity will enable the reduction of industrialization times, as MT Aerospace looks to speed up its use of DED technology for series production.

AddUp’s Modulo 400 DED machine

AddUp and MT Aerospace plan to extend their partnership next year as well. At formnext 2022 this week, the two companies will also present 3D printed parts made as a result of their collaboration. Visit AddUp at Hall 12.0, Booth E01 from November 15-18 to learn more about MT Aerospace’s use of DED in the aerospace industry.

Images courtesy of AddUp.

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