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Qualification of AM Product for Aerospace and Space Applications

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This presentation is intended to showcase two different case studies on the evaluation of AM parts and processes for Aerospace and Space applications. Northrop Grumman and ULA are two leaders in the Aerospace and Space industries that are leveraging AM to support improvements in performance, reduce weight, and drive down manufacturing costs and lead times. With the support of x-ray inspection technology and the expertise of the certified NDT personnel at PiXL, we have supported the development of internal inspection specifications and adoption of various acceptance criteria.

Case Study #1 (Northrop Grumman - Mission Systems): NGC Mission Systems is one of the world’s leaders in radar and aerospace electronics manufacturing. This group is utilizing their AM capabilities to develop parts such as heat exchangers, heat sinks and cold plates. With this new manufacturing process for the NGC engineering team, the development of the specifications and inspection methodology is extremely important and will be highly scrutinized. During the presentation we will discuss lessons learned and limitations throughout the development process with specific part examples including heat exchangers, heat sinks, and cold plates.

Case Study #2 (United Launch Alliance): With there being few major players in the “Space Race” the advantages these companies can obtain become critical to their success. The nature for many of the parts that are critical to space vehicles is that they need to be manufactured from a high-density material to withstand the stress, fatigue, and heat it will undergo which pose a challenge for x-ray inspection. During this presentation we will discuss the challenges of high-density complex parts and the adjustments that needed to be made to have a robust process.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the importance of qualification of AM
  • With "real world" examples of the qualification of not only the parts themselves, but the processes throughout the lifecycle of a part.
  • Work with their own organization to discuss the importance of inspection of AM products and develop an inspection plan.