MLM - Multi-Layer Manufacturing
Starting point / motivation
In space, there are numerous systems and subsystems that are assembled from many individual components or that have complex inner geometries. In many cases, joining techniques such as welding or soldering are used. Despite the use of additive manufacturing processes in space in recent years, there are numerous components that can not be produced in sufficiently good quality using powder bed-based additive manufacturing processes. This is where the Multi-Layer Manufacturing (MLM) technology comes in.
Contents and goals
The aim of the project is to enable the production of components with complex internal structures through the development of multi-layer manufacturing technology. The technology uses an "additive" manufacturing approach. First, the component is sliced into several individual layers, wherein the layers can be different in thickness. The number of required layers is minimized.
Subsequently, the individual layers are processed and structured accordingly followed by the surface preparation of the individual layers. In a high-temperature bonding process, the individual plates are joined together - with optimum process conditions that have to be worked within the project in order to avoid that the internal structures are being deformed.
The aim of this manufacturing approach is to realize internal structures that can be reproduced in terms of precision and surface quality and with higher quality compared to additive manufacturing technologies currently available on the market. Current additive processes have the problem with fine channels of complex geometries that the powder from the powder bed remains in the channels and can not be easily removed.
For the implementation of MLM, a screening of space-relevant components is first made, where this technology can offer advantages. Application will be identified which are suitable for the proposed technology. Initially, 3 product groups were identified for which requirement profiles will be collected.
The multi-layer manufacturing process will be developed for these 3 fields of application (eg wave guides, thruster nozzles, injector heads etc.) and test components will be made from different materials. These are examined in detail with regards to microstructure and precision of the internal structure or their mechanical properties. After a trade-off, 3 components will be selected, designed and developed for the fabrication of functional samples. By doing this the entire process chain can be established and tested.
The overall geometric performance is first tested non-destructively and also assessed with regards to the quality of the transitions between the individual layers.
The MLM technology enables integration of multiple components, miniaturization of components and is expected to be a cost-effective technology.
AT space GmbH
AT space GmbH
Dr Erich Neubauer
Seibersdorfer Strasse 18
A-2451 Hof am Leithaberge