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Home / News / GKN opens world’s largest AM pilot production cell at ORNL

GKN opens world's largest AM pilot production cell at ORNL

Jun '19
Pic: GKN Aerospace
Pic: GKN Aerospace
GKN Aerospace has announced commissioning of a second additive manufacturing cell (Cell 2) at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Cell 2 is world’s largest pilot production cell of its kind and is the next stage in GKN’s additive manufacturing research and development targeting large scale structural aircraft components.

Located at the DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL, Cell 2 is designed to enable full industrialisation of the LMD-w process for aerostructures components. Some applications will include: product development, low-rate initial production and the transition of technology development into production solutions, said GKN in a press release.

GKN Aerospace has been at the forefront of LMD-w technology for more than a decade. This began at its world-leading aero-engine systems business based in Sweden. In 2017, GKN Aerospace expanded its LMD-w expertise into large-scale aerostructures components by signing a five-year $17.8 million research agreement with ORNL.

The 2017 agreement included the opening of GKN Aerospace’s first prototype cell at ORNL which over the past two years, has transitioned technology from GKN Aerospace engines to aerostructures applications and implemented advanced closed-looped controls to manage the process with complex geometry. Cell 2 helps accelerate this work in the US.

“We are proud to introduce the next step in our additive manufacturing research as we continue to push the boundaries of this transformative technology. We believe this to be the largest laser metal deposition with wire (LMD-w) pilot production cell in the world. With this, we will target large scale aerostructure components with a focus on dramatic improvements in buy-to-fly and cost reductions over plate and forgings,” said Mike McCann, CEO of GKN Aerospace’s Aerostructures North America business.

“We are extremely proud to strengthen our relationship with this world-renowned laboratory to accelerate our progress towards fully industrialising these processes for large-scale aerostructures components. Through our cooperative research, we have seen first-hand how additive manufacturing will continue to revolutionise the design and manufacture of aircraft structures. This cell will allow us to create complex components without compromising performance,” said McCann.

“Our research collaboration with GKN Aerospace demonstrates the rapid progress that can be made when industry and the national labs work hand in hand,” said Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for Energy and Environmental Sciences at ORNL. “We are pleased to see our relationship with GKN expand, and look forward to continued technological innovation in our mission to translate science into solutions for advanced manufacturing.”

GKN Aerospace already has additive manufacturing components flying on seven different major platforms today, across the commercial, military, rotorcraft, business jets and space markets. (PC)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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