Aerospace parts manufacturer enhances laser sintering investment

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Materials Solutions, the UK-based manufacturer of aerospace parts, has ordered a fourth additive layer manufacturing (ALM) machine from EOS. The increase in capacity enables process and materials development to continue alongside increased levels of early-stage manufacture of aerospace parts. Metals used include nickel alloys such as C263, Inconel 718, Inconel 625 and Hastelloy X as well as cobalt chrome and 316, 17-4 and 15-5 stainless steels.

The firm develops new manufacturing and materials capabilities on the EOS M 270s and integrates them with established production techniques. Functioning parts are built from manipulated 3D CAD files in the M 270 machines using a 200W ytterbium laser to selectively solidify layers of metal powder, 20 microns at a time, in a 24/7 lights-out process. The parts are then heat treated, finished and supplied to drawing, with further special processes subcontracted to the aerospace supply chain in the UK. The unmelted metal powder is reused, reducing waste and improving the buy-to-fly ratio.

In addition to the M 270 ALM capability, Materials Solutions has in-house heat treatment with full data logging, a machine shop, surface finishing, a metals laboratory including a Hitachi electron microscope and a fully equipped inspection capability including a scanning coordinate measuring machine.