The HORIZON (AM) project, a £13.4 million research and development program that aims to develop additive manufacturing (AM) techniques into viable production processes for aerospace parts, has had its fourth project meeting.

The GKN Aerospace-led project consortium consists of Delcam, Renishaw and the Universities of Sheffield and Warwick, with backing from the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. The consortium is working towards achieving a process qualification level of TRL 6 (technology readiness level), the prototype stage of product development, using metal powder bed fusion technology with Inconel 718 and Ti-64.

Senior R&D project leader at GKN Aerospace Tim Hope updated the group about his teams’ latest studies using the various additive manufacturing machines, one of which is supplied by partner Renishaw. GKN is currently developing quality assurance documents to attempt to standardize materials, production processes and product quality standards.

Stumbling block

At the meeting, Hope spoke of the importance of normalising the additive manufacturing process and simplifying workflows. ‘Before you industrialise a process you have to have a simple workflow in place and that is the challenge we are currently dealing with in HORIZON,’ he said. ‘The robust and mature supply chains that aerospace organisations are used to dealing with don’t exist yet in the additive realm, and that’s a real stumbling block that we have to overcome.’

Delcam is now developing its PartBuilder software within the context of additive manufacturing workflows. The software aims to combine additive and subtractive technologies, AM and finishing technologies.

This story uses material from Delcam, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.