Metal 3D printing MT Aerospace sets standards for 3D-printed space components

Editor: MA Alexander Stark

Germany — MT Aerospace, a member of the high-tech group OHB, wants to set technical standards for additive manufacturing (AM) processes in space travel on behalf of the European Space Agency ESA. The aim is to qualify 3D processes and large-volume components.

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3D printing of metal in the DED (direct energy deposition) build-up welding process
3D printing of metal in the DED (direct energy deposition) build-up welding process
(Source MT Aerospace)

According to OHB, a standardised additive manufacturing process is to be established which is certified for the aerospace industry from material receipt to the finished component. The focus is on large aluminium components which can be installed, for example, in structural elements of the European launcher Ariane 6 and in aircraft. “After decades of working in the aerospace industry, dealing with verifiable documentation, high reproducibility of manufacturing processes and the highest quality standards are a matter of course for us. In the still young market of additive manufacturing, this benefits us,” says Hans Steininger, CEO of MT Aerospace.

Large structures are not yet common in today's AM world. This is why MT Aerospace is entering new territory in the field of metal 3D printing with the “Large AM Structures” project. It is part of the ESA's Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP) technology programme and aims to bring future technologies to maturity up to Technology Readiness Level 6. This makes them ready for industrialisation.

The project contract has a volume of 11 million euros and a duration of three years.

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