http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.50Change: 0.09
R/$ = 10.50Change: 0.06
Au 1294.90 $/ozChange: -0.67
Pt 1413.00 $/ozChange: -15.50
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013   Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science & Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Feb 10, 2012

Technology breakthrough puts SA in lead in commercial laser-based additive manufacturing

Back
Aerosud|South Africa|National Laser Centre|Aerospace Industry|Laser- Based Additive Manufacturing System|Manufacturing|Manufacturing Approach|Derek Hanekom|Federico Sciammarella|Paul Potgieter|Sibusiso Sibisi|Ahrlac|Ahrlac Aircraft|Aero|Laser
aerosud|south-africa|national-laser-centre-facility|aerospace-industry|laser--based-additive-manufacturing-system|manufacturing|manufacturing-approach|derek-hanekom|federico-sciammarella|paul-potgieter|sibusiso-sibisi|ahrlac|ahrlac-aircraft|aero|laser
© Reuse this



Abreakthrough by researchers at the National Laser Centre (NLC) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and technologists at the Aerosud Innovation and Training Centre (ITC) promises to make local aeronautics company Aerosud a world leader in niche aerostructural components manufacture within the next three years. The CSIR and Aerosud are partners in a recently announced project called Aeroswift, funded by the Department of Science and Technology, which has invested R28-million in the programme. Both the CSIR and Aerosud are contributing researchers and other staff, as well as time and funds. Aeroswift aims to locally develop a high-speed, large-volume, laser- based additive manufacturing system to make (initially) titanium parts for the global aerospace industry.

“Additive manufacturing is a very different way of making things,” points out CSIR President CEO Dr Sibusiso Sibisi. “You build the object up by adding material, instead of machining material away. It’s a revolutionary concept. You can make components to exact specifications.” The components are produced, one thin layer at a time, by a laser melting metals or other materials which are in powder form. The result, when applying this manufacturing approach to titanium, is light, strong components that can be in complex shapes.

The breakthrough is that the CSIR NLC/Aerosud consortium has already, in its proof-of-concept trials, achieved processing speeds 8.3 times greater than currently possible using commercial selective laser melting machines. The proof-of-concept trials involved the production of test pieces, which demonstrated the full melting of titanium powders at these high speeds using a patented process. Commercial systems are only capable of producing small parts, no longer than 500 mm. With Aeroswift, the aim is to produce parts as big as 2 m × 0.5 m × 0.5 m.

“I can say that the speed at which technology is developing in the world today is mind-boggling. In some areas, we South Africans are setting the pace. We’ve got real pockets of excellence here,” affirms Deputy Science and technology Minister Derek Hanekom. “But advances in technology are the product of years of perseverance and research. The significance of this can hardly be exaggerated. It’s enhancing the capabilities and competitiveness of the local aerospace industry. There’s a huge opportunity here.”

A key part of Aeroswift is the NLC’s brand-new 5 kW IPG single-mode fibre laser, which will form the heart of the new laser-based additive manufacturing pilot plant. “Now that we have the laser, we can develop the components that will go with it,” explains CSIR NLC laser materials and processing competence area manager Dr Federico Sciammarella. “We’re going to build our own additive manufacturing system around our new laser. This is all designed, but needs to be constructed and tested.” The NLC/Aerosud consortium hopes to have the complete system assembled and tested by the end of 2012 or in early 2013 at the new, second phase of Aerosud’s ITC at the Centurion Aerospace Village. Optimisation and process qualification will then start.

“We are looking for serious cooperation, with OEMs (original-equipment manufacturers – the major global aero- space companies) to be supplying us with target parts,” elucidates Aerosud GM Dr Paul Potgieter. “That’s what is happening. We’re working with the OEMs to develop process qualification. This will probably take three years. Process qualification on new technology like this isn’t easy, nor is it a trivial exercise. The new system will be operational here in 2013 as a pilot plant. Then it will take another year or two for actual process development and quali- fication approval. We hope to start full-scale production and start selling parts to the OEMs in 2015: complex, high-value, low-volume parts in exotic materials (typically titanium) for aerospace – that’s the niche we’re aiming for.”

Even before parts are produced for the OEMs, the system could be making parts for Aerosud’s own Ahrlac aircraft. (Ahrlac is an acronym for advanced high performance light aircraft.) It is hoped that the prototype Ahrlac will make its maiden flight during this year.

“I think the exciting thing about [Aeroswift] is that we have a great public–private partnership,” highlights Sciammarella. “These are the projects that excite people because they have a lot of promise, put South Africa on the map and show we can lead in high technology and advanced manufacturing – and stimulate young people. With additive manufacturing, you can go from design to manufacture in almost real time and if it’s wrong, you can go back and change it easily. That’s the most exciting thing.”

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other News This Week News
Updated 7 hours ago The Electronic Systems Laboratory (ESL) of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University is strongly reaffirming its position as one of South Africa’s leading centres for satellite technology and expertise. It is currently...
MORE IN SA Phase 2 should see local content on the mainline locomotive increase from 65% to 80% by the end of 2014
Updated 7 hours ago The world’s lowest-cost diesel-electric locomotive is not made in China, but in Pretoria, at RRL Grindrod Locomotives’ newly upgraded 30 000 m2 plant. The company’s locomotive pricing is “more competitive than any other original-equipment manufacturer (OEM)...
Updated 7 hours ago The South African Defence Review 2012, released to the public at the end of last month (despite the year given in its title) recommends the creation of the post of Chief Defence Scientist. This official would be responsible for the management of defence technology...
More
 
 
Latest News
Renewable-energy projects, such as this Northern Cape solar farm, seen as key to low‐carbon energy supply.
Upfront investment costs will and should remain a critical consideration as South Africa moves to upscale and accelerate its infrastructure programmes. But one of the lead authors of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) argues that the...
The barrier to efficient water service delivery in South Africa was not of a technological nature but rather related to legal and Constitutional challenges, Water Research Commission (WRC) CEO Dhesigen Naidoo said on Thursday. Opening a WRC debate under the theme...
ANC SG Gwede Mantashe (L), chairperson Baleka Mbete (C) and President Jacob Zuma (R)
The creation of a small and medium enterprises department is very likely, African National Congress national chairwoman Baleka Mbete said on Thursday. "We are talking about a focused department looking at small and medium businesses because the departments must be...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Updated 7 hours ago The Electronic Systems Laboratory (ESL) of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University is strongly reaffirming its position as one of South Africa’s leading centres for satellite technology and expertise. It is currently...
MORE IN SA Phase 2 should see local content on the mainline locomotive increase from 65% to 80% by the end of 2014
Updated 7 hours ago The world’s lowest-cost diesel-electric locomotive is not made in China, but in Pretoria, at RRL Grindrod Locomotives’ newly upgraded 30 000 m2 plant. The company’s locomotive pricing is “more competitive than any other original-equipment manufacturer (OEM)...
Updated 7 hours ago The South African Defence Review 2012, released to the public at the end of last month (despite the year given in its title) recommends the creation of the post of Chief Defence Scientist. This official would be responsible for the management of defence technology...
Updated 7 hours ago AltX-listed engineering technology company Ansys has been awarded an R188-million contract by Transnet to supply integrated dashboard display systems to the freight rail utility’s locomotives. Black-owned and controlled Ansys developed the bespoke integrated system...
Updated 7 hours ago South Africa’s sole nuclear power station Koeberg, which is located in the Western Cape, breached a major operations milestone on April 4, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of Unit 1 having been connected to the grid. Eskom, which operates the two-unit plant,...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks