GKN Aerospace announced the commissioning of the world’s largest known production cell for laser-directed energy deposition (AM) additive manufacturing as part of its new Global Technology Center in Texas, USA.
The cell, named “Cell 3,” is a step toward expanding large-scale additive manufacturing of titanium aerostructures using laser metal deposition-wire (LMD-w).
Shawn Black, GKN Aerospace’s President of Defence said: “Cell 3 will create opportunities to deliver a whole new level of additively manufactured titanium components to sizes needed for safety-critical air and space structures. We are very excited to bring this new equipment to our current line of product development LMD-w cells in the US. This will accelerate the introduction of our technology into production while helping to support the US supply chain and reducing reliance on foreign-sourced materials.”
GKN Aerospace has been a leader in LMD-w technology for two decades, starting with its world-leading engine systems business.
Black continued: “LMD-w is a game-changer and a more sustainable alternative for production in a wide range of civil and defence structures. The method has shown its proficiencies in producing components faster and with significantly reduced lead times. We also look forward to expanding this technology’s role in sustainability and efficiencies through additional collaborations with customers and universities.”
The new cell enables the development of five-meter-long titanium components using LMD-w. GKN Aerospace, which has been a leader in LMD-w technology for two decades, already has additively manufactured components in use for commercial and military aircraft, rotorcraft, business jets and aerospace. Future additive manufacturing collaborations for large-scale aerostructures include process improvement, modeling and simulation, non-destructive evaluation methods, in-situ monitoring, and transitioning technology development into production solutions.