GKN Aerospace Installs RenAM 500Q Metal 3D Printer at Global Technology Center in UK

Renishaw installed a RenAM 500Q Flex additive manufacturing (AM) system at an aerospace manufacturer GKN Aerospaceof the state-of-the-art Global Technology Center in Bristol, which was announced in 2018.

The machine will provide valuable information on how to optimize additive manufacturing for aerospace applications.

Renishaw began working with GKN Aerospace in 2014 as part of the Horizon Projectfinanced by the Institute of Aerospace Technology (ATI), which aimed to develop additive manufacturing techniques into viable production processes for aerospace parts and components.

Since the first collaboration of the two companies, GKN Aerospace has developed its understanding of AM and uses the process in all fields of activity, developing components for aircraft engines, civil aerostructures and functional systems.

After seeing the benefits of AM, such as part consolidation, shorter manufacturing value chain time and reduced defects, GKN Aerospace and Renishaw discussed the benefits of the new Flex platform for the manufacturer , with new features such as the ability to quickly change materials and count powder more easily than on a recirculating system.

“We wanted to find an advanced additive manufacturing system to help us develop a highly stable, highly repeatable and highly measurable manufacturing process that results in zero defects,” said Bradley Hughes, Principal Research Engineer at GKN Aerospace.

Speaking of the benefits of the RenAM 500Q, Hughes added, “In-process monitoring capabilities, for example, allow us to monitor performance metrics that are critical to the aerospace industry. The system is also designed to allow for material changes, which is normally a complex process when working with AM systems, so it allows us to be more efficient when working on products using different materials.

Bryan Austin, Sales Director of Renishaw’s Additive Manufacturing Group, said: “Collaborating with GKN Aerospace not only allows us to understand how the aerospace industry can benefit from the Flex platform, but we can also better understand future requirements of the aerospace sector in additive manufacturing.”

Hughes continued: “Renishaw have been closely involved throughout the RenAM 500Q Flex commissioning process, offering support with installation, training and resolving any initial issues while learning the use of the machine.

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