EBM is a process in which metal components are built up, layer-by-layer, using a metal powder that is melted by a powerful electron beam. EBM is able to produce very precise, complex, small to medium-sized components that require very little finishing.
As part of this agreement, GKN Aerospace has ordered two Arcam Q20 EBM machines to be installed at GKN Aerospace’s Bristol, UK additive manufacturing (AM) centre. GKN Aerospace and ARCAM engineers will then work together to create the next generation of EBM equipment to make complex titanium structures at high volumes.
‘We have been working with Arcam for some time exploring what we believe to be one of the most promising of the additive processes,’ said Russ Dunn, senior vice president engineering & technology, GKN Aerospace. ‘Our aim has been to fully understand how EBM can be applied to our future aerostructures and aero engines portfolio. Through this new strategic partnership with Arcam our combined additive manufacturing teams will now take the next steps towards fully industrialising this AM technology.
‘We believe the array of processes that fall under the ‘additive’ umbrella will revolutionise manufacturing across every industrial sector – particularly in aerospace where cost, weight and performance are critical,’ he added.
The agreement forms part of the GKN group’s major AM research and development initiative. Within the business, four global AM development centres have been established in North America and Europe focusing on progressing specific additive processes and technologies.