Monday, May 23, 2016

News: New research to explore additive repair for aerospace

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Additive manufacturing experts at the Nuclear AMRC in Rotherham are leading international research into innovative repair technologies for the aerospace industry.

The Amos project (Additive manufacturing optimisation and simulation platform for repairing and remanufacturing of aerospace components) is a collaboration between researchers and manufacturers in Europe and Canada, led by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) and a partner in the HVM Catapult (the government's strategic initiative that aims to revitalise the manufacturing industry), the AMRC focuses on advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors. It is a partnership between industry and academia, which has become a model for research centres worldwide.

Amos will investigate a range of direct energy deposition techniques which combine welding tools with automated control to accurately deposit and melt metal powder or wire. Many of these techniques are already used in aerospace and other industries to build new parts to near-net shape.

The project will focus on additive technologies already being used by the partners, including the wire-feed gas tungsten arc process used in the Nuclear AMRC's bulk additive cell. The team may also look at other additive techniques used at the Nuclear AMRC, such as powder diode laser.

The aim is to see if the techniques can be used to repair or remaunufacture components such as turbine blades or aircraft landing gear. This would significantly reduce the time and cost of regular maintenance and repair for the aerospace industry, while reducing material waste and extending the life of expensive components.

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Dr Rosemary Gault, European project coordinator at the University of Sheffield AMRC, said: "There's a host of additive manufacturing technologies available to aerospace manufacturers, but they tend to be focused on new production rather than repairing damaged parts. The Amos project is bringing together some of the world's leading research organisations and companies to identify which additive technologies are best suited for repair and remanufacture, and develop them for commercial use."

Other partners in the project include Ecole Central de Nantes in France; GKN Aerospace Engine Systems, based in Sweden; and DPS, a French SME specialising in process simulation and optimisation.

Canadian partners are McGill University, Montreal; the University of Ottawa; jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada; landing gear supplier Héroux-Devtek; and automated welding specialist Liburdi.

The four-year, €2.6 million project is supported by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 programme and by Canadian funding agencies CARIC and NSERC. It is one of the first European-Canadian projects to be funded under the "Mobility for growth" collaboration in aeronautics R&D.

AMRC website
AMOS Project website

Images: Nuclear AMRC

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