EOS: Additive Manufacturing
Safer and More Economical with Additive Manufacturing
Lighter Yet More Stable
With this technology, the Ariane Group fulfilled all the requirements. Instead of 248 components, the injection head now consists of only one component. It fulfils the same functions and can be manufactured much faster and more economically. EOS's powder-bed-based, industrial 3D printing technology made it possible, among other things, to print the 122 injection nozzles, the base plate, the front plate and the distribution dome as an integral component with the corresponding supply connectors for the fuels hydrogen and oxygen. The significantly higher productivity of the multi-laser system EOS M 400-4 compared to single-laser systems (EOS M290) reduced the construction time to less than a third, the costs sank to half.
The project team achieved further successes. By simplifying the design and thanks to improved material properties compared to casting, the additive manufacturing process produces components with the same robustness and strength and with significantly thinner walls. This makes it about 25 % lighter than before. This aspect carries a lot of "weighty" for a rocket to be transported into space.
The experts at the rocket manufacturer see an additional advantage in the fact that additive manufacturing processes can significantly accelerate innovation cycles. Structural optimizations, design changes and the production of test components in the development phase can be brought directly from the CAD data to the production process without time-consuming tool production. While it used to take about six months to complete a component, it now only takes a few days. This enables the space specialists to optimize and test components in significantly shorter cycles. In addition, with additive manufacturing they are part of and monitor the entire production chain themselves. Above all, this creates confidence in the quality of the components produced.
This article was first published by Schweizer MaschinenMarkt