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Development of a Machine for Multi-Material Manufacturing

Project Funding:
EU Commission, H2020 SMEINST-2-2014 programme
Project Coordination:
RHP Technology GmbH, Austria
Project Partners:
24 months

In space industry large struc­tures like struts, hous­ings, kinematic mounts, suspen­sion arms for rovers, thruster elements made from differ­ent mater­i­als are usually manu­fac­tured by conven­tional machin­ing lead­ing to 90% scrap to get the final part. The main goal of the 4M project is the devel­op­ment of an indus­trial “plug & play” system for addit­ive layer manu­fac­tur­ing which is based on a blown powder process using Plasma Transferred Arc (PTA) Technology. One of the main big hurdles which limits the use of PTA manu­fac­tured 3D parts for space and other high demand­ing markets is related to the fact, that there are actu­ally no commer­cial “plug &play” manu­fac­tur­ing systems avail­able which ensure 100% process control and repeatability.

The main object­ives of the project can be summar­ized as follows:

  • To develop a commer­cial system for 3D manu­fac­tur­ing of multi-mater­i­als which allows the free form manu­fac­tur­ing by using a blown powder process in combin­a­tion with a Plasma Transferred Arc process
  • To develop a Multi Material Manufacturing Machine based on commer­cial of the shelf (COTS) compon­ents which have been success­fully used over many years in weld­ing, hard facing coat­ings and plasma spraying.
  • To develop the 3D Manufacturing process for two selec­ted mater­i­als (Ti alloy, Al-alloy) and for one multi-mater­ial combin­a­tion (Ti6Al4V + Titan Metal Matrix Composite based on Ti6Al4V rein­forced with TiB2 particles.)
  • To use the equip­ment for the manu­fac­tur­ing of selec­ted demon­strat­ors (3 case studies)