ratna - University of Leicester

Components for Energy Efficiency in Transport by
Additive Manufacturing
Piyal Samara-Ratna
Mechanical Engineer & Project Lead
Space Research Centre
Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
Project Overview
• Funding by the Transport iNet
• 18 month project – Started September 2010
• Collaboration:
– Space Research Centre
– Mechanics of Materials Group at Leicester University
– Additive Manufacturing group at DMU
– MTT (industrial collaborator)
• Project objectives:
– Bring additive manufacturing into Space and other commercial
markets for regional benefit
– 4 businesses engaged with collaborations with HEIs
– 4 businesses assisted to improve performance
– 1 job safeguarded
– 6 graduates employed and 1 assisted in STEM training
What is Additive Manufacturing?
Conventional Machining
Additive Manufacturing
Additive manufacturing now available to manufacture components in metal
Benefits of Additive Manufacturing
• No limit to complexity of parts
• No time/cost penalty for complexity
• No additional tooling costs
• Minimal wastage:
– All excess material can be recycled and
reused immediately
– Potential to be extremely
environmentally friendly
• It’s a process that encourages the engineer to
make the component as efficient as possible
• It enables engineers to manufacture products
that were simply never possible
– High performance lattice structures
Space Research Centre (SRC)
The Space Research Centre needs to adopt
innovative manufacturing techniques to remain
competitive in building space instrumentation:
– Technology improvements are driving tougher
design requirements
– The SRC needs to produce real hardware that
– We also need to prove to our customers that it
Facilities to be a customer and technology
developer for additive manufacturing
Current SRC portfolio highlights:
– 3 instruments on the future ESA Mars Rover
– 1 Instrument on the replacement to Hubble
Space Telescope
– 1 instrument on a mission to Mercury
– Development of nuclear power systems for
future spacecraft
The Problem?
• High Production costs
– Appropriate for the low volume manufacture
– Technology still needs development before it is suitable for
mass volume production
• Lack of process control
– Uncertainty in ensuring that parts have no defects
– Risk of high financial losses if parts do not meet the build
• Lack of material properties for parts produced using additive
– The process dictates the material properties
– Each machine will need to be certified
The Solution!
• Development of an in-process monitoring
– Ensures the quality of the parts
– Ability to stop/alter the process
– Developed primarily between DMU and
MTT (additive manufacturing machine
• Development of materials qualification
– Developed primarily between Space
Research Centre and the Mechanics of
Materials Group
– Developed to international space
• Mechanical and thermal testing
• Qualification initially for titanium (Ti64AV)
and then expanded to other materials (e.g.
Stainless steel)
Process Chain Evaluation
Part Design
Raw material
Part postprocessing
Integration to
• Removal of
support structure
•Heat treatment
• Surface finish
• Drilling/tapping
• Interfacing
• Bonding
• Part monitoring
• Maintenance
Concept to Production Process Chain
parts to fit the
• Specification
• Grade
• Purity
• Approved suppliers
• Handling
• Storage
• Machine qualification
• Setup procedure
• Calibration
• Process settings
• Environmental settings
• Build orientation
• Process monitoring
• Quality assurance
Industry Collaboration
Currently working with 11 industrial collaborators in
Motorsport, automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, rail
and dental
Promote technology by development of sample parts for
each industrial sector
Free training & Free sample parts enables:
– Promotional technology demonstrators
– Tools to generate interest amongst industrial
partner customer base
SRC to provide engineering effort:
– CAD design facilities
– Analysis data to support:
• Mechanical
• Thermal
Technology development covered by NDA
• By making real working hardware the SRC bridges the gap between
research and commercial industry
The SRC is paving the way for innovative manufacturing like Additive
Manufacturing to be used in commercial sectors:
– Proving it to work in harsh test environments
– Tackling issues preventing uptake of technology
• Benefits for the SRC:
– Development of knowledge and experience
– Fulfils obligation of the University to support the region
– Opens the door to possible future research collaborations
• Benefits for industry:
– Low investment in new technology
– Publicity of using innovative technology used on space instrumentation
– Long-term establishment of regional research expertise

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