Scott P. Lathrope, ALM Capability Manager, Meggitt Control Systems
Meggitt Aerospace and Ashton & Moore have developed a design optimization process for selective laser melting (SLM). Utilizing funding from the UK’s National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Program and in partnership with the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, Meggitt Aerospace and Ashton & Moore applied this process to develop a transformed bleed air valve. The resulting SLM component offers over 50% improvements in weight, reliability and part count, while integrating system functions.
While reduced weight and improved reliability are beneficial, integration is the key to a commercially viable SLM aerospace product with minimized risk. Combinations of parts within a component and functions within a system reduce manufacture and life-cycle costs. Design for integration focuses not only on the SLM build but also design for post-process. Common SLM designs aligned to exotic post-processes can integrate components not previously considered. Finally, risk mitigation requires inspection and test methods.