EOS and MTU Aero Engines have partnered to develop quality-assurance measures for metal engine components using additive manufacturing (AM), signing a framework agreement for the joint strategic development of their technologies.
The first result of the collaboration is the optical tomography (OT) developed by MTU, which complements the modular EOS monitoring portfolio. In addition to several sensors that monitor the general system status, the camera-based OT technology controls the exposure process and melting characteristics of the material at all times, to ensure optimum coating and exposure quality.
“MTU and EOS have been working intensively for several years, and this collaboration is now about to develop into an even closer, partner-based technological cooperation, centered on their quality-assurance tool,” Dr. Adrian Keppler, Head of Sales and Marketing (CMO) at EOS, explained in a statement. “The OT solution enables us to perform an even more holistic quality control of the metal additive manufacturing process—layer by layer and part by part. A very large proportion of the quality control process that previously took place downstream can now be performed during the manufacturing process, with a considerable saving in quality-assurance costs. This also allows us to satisfy a central customer requirement in the area of serial production.”
Thomas Dautl, Head of Production Technologies at MTU in Munich added, “By employing the quality-assurance system developed by us for use in serial production, EOS is backing an industrially proven solution for its direct metal laser-sintering [DMLS] process. It has proven itself in practical testing and we now intend to make it available to other customers too."
MTU has deployed the tool on EOS systems for years now, gaining experience and knowledge. Dautl says that this solution ensures comprehensive transparency and also provides a quality-analysis method for the entire manufacturing process and supports its full documentation.
“In this way, EOS and MTU are jointly furthering the qualified use of additive manufacturing in aerospace engineering while also reducing costs,” said Dautl. “The monitoring solution represents a value enhancement not only for the EOS technology but for each and every customer as well.”
Quality assurance is especially important in serial production, the companies note, because it ensures repeatable high component quality and continually reduces the quality-control costs of components made using the technology. This ultimately helps to reduce unit costs.
The system settings and process parameters are constantly monitored in the ongoing manufacturing process on EOS systems, to ensure that system and manufacturing process conditions are ideal for maximum component quality.
Because the quality-assurance product is in early development, EOS declined to provide more details on its application, development timeline, and how it will help expand the use of AM in aerospace and other industries. The company plans to release additional information at the end of the year.