Home Industry iLAuNCH Trailblazer: Australia’s aerospace program uses 3D printing

iLAuNCH Trailblazer: Australia’s aerospace program uses 3D printing

The iLAuNCH Trailblazer program, funded with 180 million Australian dollars, aims to expand Australia’s capabilities in the space sector. In collaboration with New Frontier Technologies (NFT) and the Australian National University (ANU), 3D printing applications for the construction of large-scale carbon fiber composite structures are being researched.

The aim is to use more flexible designs and faster production processes to reduce the mass of satellites and produce customized structures for rockets. The flexibility and speed of 3D printing will be used to achieve this.

NFT will contribute its design and manufacturing expertise for rocket-adapted structures. ANU will perform testing and evaluation with its material analysis and computed tomography facilities. CT scanners are used to analyze and further develop the manufacturing process. A digital twin of the rocket bodies is to be created in order to qualify and refine the structural models for simulations.

Computer tomography provides detailed insights into the microstructure. Precise simulation models can be created on this basis. These in turn provide a digital profile of each component as the basis for digital certification.

The design-for-manufacturing concept developed by NFT relies on laser-assisted tape placement, an additive manufacturing method that is being used for the first time in Australia.

Through the collaboration, iLAuNCH, ANU and NFT aim to develop a qualified manufacturing process that will contribute to rocket manufacturing in Australia. The aim is to optimize automated additive manufacturing technologies.

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