3D printed antenna support.
Altair has revealed that RUAG Space, with the support of Altair ProductDesign, has built a redesigned, optimised antenna support for an Earth observation satellite. The objective was to create an aluminium component that would be significantly stiffer while at the same time lighter, using industrial additive manufacturing.
Engineers got to work with Altair HyperWorks solver OptiStruct, guaranteeing a load-sufficient material distribution and solidThinking Evolve for the design. The end component was then manufactured with a 3D printer by EOS, the German market leader in the area of industrial 3D printing, to achieve elite weight and stiffness performance crucial to the space industry - the lighter a satellite, the less it costs to launch.
At 40 centimetres long, the antenna support is one of the longest metal components ever produced using the powder bed manufacturing method and is currently undergoing a battery of intensive qualification tests scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
Pietro Cervellera, Managing Director Altair GmbH, said: "At Altair we were delighted to contribute to such a significant milestone in satellite design. The collaboration with RUAG Space and EOS allowed us to deliver even more innovative end-to-end design and optimization processes to exploit the benefits of additive manufacturing.”
RUAG Space has been conducting intensive research and development work in 3D printing since 2013.
“3D printing has enormous potential for our business, and we are currently in the process of developing further space applications,” explained Michael Pavloff, Chief Technical Officer at RUAG Space. “In the future it will be possible to create entire satellite structures using a 3D printer. This means that electrical harnesses, reflectors, heating pipes, and other assemblies that today still have to be manufactured individually could then be integrated directly into the structural elements.”
The project will be presented today at the Altair-hosted Additive Manufacturing Design and Engineering Symposium on Nov. 26 at EuroMold 2014.