One of the titanium brackets, additively manufactured in an EOSINT M 280.
Space exploration has benefited immensely from 3D printing particularly in the last few months. From NASA’s 3D printed telescopes to the first 3D printer making its way to the International Space Station, additive manufacturing spans much further than our humble planet.
Brackets manufactured by traditional metal cutting did not meet the requirements needed due the inability to provide an optimum weight and the process proving very time consuming and costly. The brackets needed to be able to withstand high thermal stresses, making Titanium the material is choice due to its thermal conductivity and high strength to weight ratio.
EOS’s additive manufacturing technology enabled the bracket to be designed and built for Direct Laser Metal Sintering on an EOSINT M 280, fully optimising the Titanium. As a result, the production time has been significantly reduced and the bracket can now permanently withstand a 300°C temperature variation under a force of 20 KN. The overall production cost has also been reduced by 20%.
Otilia Castro Matías, who is responsible for antennae at Airbus Defence and Space in Madrid explained: "Thanks to additive manufacturing, we were able to redesign the bracket and eliminate the vulnerability caused by thermal stress at the interface with the carbon fibre panel.
"The improvements also significantly reduced thermally induced failure during the qualification test campaign. The cost of space activities is relatively high, so it is especially important to protect any hardware from possible failure.”