Honeywell and SLM Solutions have been successful in their collaboration for the qualification of 3D printed aluminium parts with high layer thicknesses.
The collaboration aims to reduce manufacturing times and costs to produce 3D printed aluminium components that meet the high requirements of the aerospace industry. Newly developed parameter sets for aluminium alloy F357, a new beryllium free version of AlSi7Mg0,6 (A357), lead to considerably improved material properties compared to parts produced through die-casting, the companies say.
As part of the collaboration that kicked off in 2019, Honeywell began qualification efforts for aluminium builds using an increased layer thickness of 60 and 90 µm on their quad-laser selective laser melting machine, SLM 500. SLM Solutions provided generic aluminium parameter sets for Honeywell to complete material qualification to achieve optimal material properties. The development of these new parameter sets for aluminium alloy F357 using a layer thickness of 60 µm and 700 W lasers has now reached an important milestone. Material properties have significantly increased in comparison to conventional die-cast parts and are now exceeding overall acknowledged metallic properties for aerospace.
3D printing of special aluminium alloy offers superior properties
Aluminium alloy F357 is not only lightweight but offers a significantly better corrosion resistance and desired mechanical properties, such as high-strength across a wide temperature range in comparison to conventional aluminium alloys. It has a great weldability and excellent suitability for post-processing, like mechanical machining or electrochemical such as anodizing. This combination of properties enables F357 to be perfectly suited for thin walled and complex structures in, for example, the aerospace or automotive industry.
Sören Wiener, senior director Technology & Advanced Operations at Honeywell Aerospace, comments on his work with the SLM 500: “In particular, the open architecture system of the SLM machine provides huge advantages like high flexibility and parameter sets can be customized.” Benjamin Haas, product manager for Materials & Parameters at SLM Solutions, stresses that all SLM customers benefit from the industry-proven and perfectly tailored solutions.