http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.15Change: -0.01
R/$ = 10.98Change: -0.07
Au 1223.45 $/ozChange: -12.67
Pt 1350.00 $/ozChange: -12.00
 
 
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
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders 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|Africa|Components|Industrial|PROJECT|Projects|System|Systems|Africa|South Africa|National Laser Centre|Aerospace Industry|Equipment|Laser- Based Additive Manufacturing System|Manufacturing|Manufacturing Approach|Product|Systems|Derek Hanekom|Federico Sciammarella|Paul Potgieter|Sibusiso Sibisi|Ahrlac|Ahrlac Aircraft|Aero|Laser
Africa|Components|Industrial|PROJECT|Projects|System|Systems|Africa|||Equipment|Manufacturing|Systems|||
aerosud|africa-company|components|industrial|project|projects|system|systems-company|africa|south-africa|national-laser-centre-facility|aerospace-industry|equipment|laser--based-additive-manufacturing-system|manufacturing|manufacturing-approach|product|systems|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 (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Transport & Logistics News
Updated 38 minutes ago South African company Denel Aviation signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with one of the world's top simulation and training companies, Canada's CAE, and its local partner, Elisa, on Thursday, at the African Aerospace and Defence exhibition at Air Force Base...
Article contains comments
Premier David Makhura
The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) requested a meeting with Gauteng premier David Makhura on e-tolling before he set up a review panel, it said on Wednesday. "Perceptions that we were not prepared to enter into dialogue are therefore...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 4 minutes ago Three Chinese firms led by Shanghai Electric Group are considering setting up a coal mine and a 1 200 MW thermal power station in western Zimbabwe, company officials said. Industries and households in the southern African country have endured electricity cuts for...
Kariba dam
Updated 30 minutes ago Zambia and Zimbabwe have obtained pledges of $280-million to rehabilitate the Kariba dam, a crucial source of energy built more than 50 years ago that requires urgent maintenance, the authority managing the dam said on Wednesday. The European Union (EU) will provide...
Updated 38 minutes ago South African company Denel Aviation signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with one of the world's top simulation and training companies, Canada's CAE, and its local partner, Elisa, on Thursday, at the African Aerospace and Defence exhibition at Air Force Base...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
The board of UD Trucks Southern Africa (UDTSA) has announced the resignation of MD Jacques Carelse.   Long-time UD employee, corporate planning and marketing GM, Rory Schulz, has been appointed as acting MD while the process started to appoint a new MD. The Japanese...
There is a need to start planning another pumped storage scheme in South Africa. Much work has already been done at a site in the Limpopo province and the project was very close to being put out to tender at one stage. In 2008/9 the National Energy Regulator of South...
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is preparing to leverage its strategic coastal position to develop the Eastern Cape economy through proposed aquaculture development zones (ADZs), with a proposed R2-billion project aiming to contribute $278-million to the...
Completion of the ongoing construction of the 102 km Zomba–Jali–Phalombe–Chitakale road, in southern Malawi, has been extended from June  to December 15 because of persistent rains and difficulties in paying the contractor. The project is being undertaken by Kuwait's...
The Malawi government has awarded South African firm  Fischer Consortium the  contract to upgrade the Malawi Road Traffic Information System. The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services at Malawi's Ministry of Transport and Public Works says Fischer...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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