German metal 3D printer manufacturer SLM Solutions and multinational manufacturing conglomerate Honeywell are collaborating to qualify new additive manufacturing parameters that enable printing at increased thicknesses.
SLM Solutions will be providing the hardware and materials, whereas Honeywell will be responsible for carrying out the qualification process. Through the partnership, both companies aim to reduce their 3D printing times and cost.
“SLM Solutions’ latest technology will help Honeywell improve productivity while also meeting our material requirements for qualification,” commented Dr. Sören Wiener, senior director of technology and advanced operations for Honeywell’s Aerospace business.
“We intend to qualify these parameter sets through repeatability testing in our production environment, including build and post-processing to generate an efficient process with a set of material property data.”
A metal tire mold segment 3D printed by SLM Solutions. Photo via SLM Solutions
Additive manufacturing at Honeywell
Founded in 1906, Honeywell’s main production activities center on commercial and consumer products, engineering services and aerospace systems. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the company has a global workforce of approximately 110,000, with approximately 44,000 employed in the U.S..
The firm operates through four business units: Honeywell Aerospace, Honeywell Building Technologies, Safety and Productivity Solutions (SPS), and Performance Materials and Technologies (PMT). Through these segments, Honeywell offers a number of products and services.
The company has demonstrated a continuous implementation of additive manufacturing over the years. In 2018, Honeywell Aerospace approved Sintavia, a Florida-based metal 3D printing service, to manufacture its components using powder bed fusion technology. Honeywell Aerospace has also entered into 3D printing R&D contracts with the likes of Sigma Labs and 3D Systems.
A Honeywell Aerospace test flight at the Paris Air Show. Photo via Honeywell Aerospace.
Creating advanced parameter sets for thicker 3D printing
In a new partnership with SLM Solutions, Honeywell Aerospace will now begin qualifying aluminum builds created using increased layer thicknesses of 60 and 90 micron. These builds will be produced on the SLM 500.
SLM Solutions will also be providing its standard aluminum parameter sets allowing Honeywell to complete material qualification using the SLM 500, with the aim of achieving optimal material properties. “As the productivity leaders in powder bed fusion, SLM Solutions has been continuously working to reduce build times by combining high-powered lasers with advanced parameter sets,” explains Meddah Hadjar, CEO of SLM Solutions Group AG.
“We’re excited to work together with Honeywell Aerospace to further advance the industry through the qualification of even more advanced parameter sets for quad-laser systems used in qualified serial production.”
Selective Laser Melting Machine SLM 500. Photo via SLM Solutions
Introduced in 2013, the SLM 500 is a quad-laser metal additive manufacturing system. It features a 500 x 280 x 365 mm build volume, and can print complex metal geometries thanks to its selective laser melting technology. Rolls-Royce, a British manufacturer and distributor of power systems for aviation and automotive industries, is using the SLM 500 to 3D print metal aerospace parts. The system is also being used by Bugatti, the French manufacturer of high-performance automobiles, to 3D print critical automotive components such as a titanium brake caliper.
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Featured image shows SLM Solutions’ labs. Photo via SLM Solutions.