Additive Manufacturing Siemens and Sonaca Optimize Metal 3D Printing for Space Applications
Weight is a critical aspect of space applications. Additive manufacturing processes can help to reduce the weight of almost any type of complex structure. In the Design 4AM project, ESA has now commissioned Siemens and Sonaca to develop designs for space travel with 3D metal printing.
Additive manufacturing has become an important tool in the aerospace industry. It delivers structural and multidisciplinary solutions demanded in space applications at a significantly lower weight than structures manufactured with traditional manufacturing methods. Weight is a critical aspect in space applications. According to industry reports, one pound of payload is equivalent to launch costs of $ 10,000. Additive manufacturing technologies can help to reduce the weight of virtually any type of complex structure in launchers, propulsion systems, satellites and various spacecraft components.
"With our extensive knowledge of aerospace and Siemens software technologies - such as generative design, automated topology optimization and simulation of additive manufacturing processes - engineers will be able to explore hundreds of design options in a fraction of the usual time. They can then virtually test these options for a variety of physical conditions. This allows them to find the best design for the performance requirements. Additionally, 3D printing is accurate right from the start," explains Pedro Romero Fernandez, Sonaca General Manager Space BU.
Integrated Software Environment Accelerates the Component Design Process
The Design 4AM project uses the Siemens Digital Innovation Platform and Sonaca's experience in space applications, manufacturing properties, materials handling, testing and numerical methods to validate the process chain. Siemens NX and Simcenter software solutions enable engineers to explore a wide range of design concepts in an automated closed-loop process that takes into account technical performance, manufacturing process requirements and operating costs. These solutions can take into account manufacturing constraints such as thermo-mechanical component deformation, component orientation in the construction chamber or the design of support structures. The integrated software environment accelerates the component design and optimization processes and enables the production of high-performance structures.
„Additive manufacturing helps ESA to optimize processes and thus achieve optimal performance at reduced costs. In comparison, traditional manufacturing methods require several machining steps and tools to achieve the desired result," says Didier Granville, RTD Project Manager at Siemens in Liège. "Together with Sonaca, we are supporting ESA in taking advantage of additive manufacturing to produce heavy-duty structures that can withstand the extreme forces involved in launching satellites."
This article was first published by konstruktionspraxis.
Original by Juliana Pfeiffer / Translation by Alexander Stark