GKN Aerospace has opened a second additive
manufacturing cell (Cell 2) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s
(DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Located at the DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration
Facility at ORNL, Cell 2 is the world’s largest pilot production
cell of its kind and is the next stage in GKN Aerospace’s additive
manufacturing research and development targeting large scale
structural aircraft components.
Mike McCann, CEO of GKN Aerospace’s
Aerostructures North America business said, “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.”
GKN Aerospace has been at the forefront of LMD-w
technology for more than a decade. This began at its aero-engine systems business based in
Sweden and, in 2017, GKN Aerospace expanded its LMD-w expertise
into large-scale aerostructures components by signing a five-year
US$17.8 million research agreement with ORNL.
extremely proud to strengthen our relationship with this
world-renowned laboratory to accelerate our progress towards fully
industrializing these processes for large-scale aerostructures
components. Through our cooperative research, we have seen
first-hand how additive manufacturing will continue to
revolutionize the design and manufacture of aircraft structures.
This cell will allow us to create complex components without
compromising performance,” said McCann.
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.
The GKN Aerospace Cell 2 features include:
* 8-axis of motion
* Large area inert enviroment
* 52in x 32in max substrate size
* Two-sided deposition
Cell 2 is a pilot production cell designed to enable full
industrialization 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.
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.”
already has additive manufacturing components flying on seven
different major platforms today, across the commercial, military,
rotorcraft, business jets and space markets.