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Qualification Challenges with Additive Manufacturing in Space Applications
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3086-9140
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Innovation and Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7108-6356
2017 (English)In: Proceedings of the 28th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium - An Additive Manufacturing Conference, SFF 2017, The University of Texas at Austin , 2017, p. 2699-2712Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Additive Manufacturing (AM) has the potential to remove boundaries that traditional manufacturing processes impose on engineering design work. The space industry pushes product development and technology to its edge, and there can be a lot to gain by introducing AM. However, the lack of established qualification procedures for AM parts has been highlighted, especially for critical components. While the space industry sees an advantage in AM due to expensive products in low volumes and long lead-times for traditional manufacturing processes (e.g. casting), it also acknowledges the issue of qualifying mission critical parts within its strict regulations. This paper focuses on the challenges with the qualification of AM in space applications. A qualitative study is presented where conclusions have been drawn from interviews within the aerospace industry. The results highlight important gaps that need to be understood before AM can be introduced in critical components, and gives insight into conventional component qualification.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The University of Texas at Austin , 2017. p. 2699-2712
Keywords [en]
Additive Manufacturing, Space application, Qualification, Product development process, Manufacturing process development
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Product Innovation
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-65623Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85085022520OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-65623DiVA, id: diva2:1141022
Conference
28th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) Symposium – An Additive Manufacturing Conference, Austin, 7-9 August 2017, Austin, Texas, USA
Available from: 2017-09-13 Created: 2017-09-13 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Qualification of Metal Additive Manufacturing in Space Industry: Challenges for Product Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Qualification of Metal Additive Manufacturing in Space Industry: Challenges for Product Development
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, is a collection of production processes that has received a good deal of attention in recent years from different industries. Features such as mass production of customised products, design freedom, part consolidation and cost efficient low volume production drive the development of, and the interest in, these technologies. One industry that could potentially benefit from AM with metal materials is the space industry, an industry that has become a more competitive environment with established actors being challenged by new commercial initiatives. To be competitive in these new market conditions, the need for innovation and cost awareness has increased. Efficiency in product development and manufacturing is required, and AM is promising from these perspectives. However, the maturity of the AM processes is still at a level that requires cautious implementation in direct applications. Variation in manufacturing outcome and sensitivity to part geometry impact material properties and part behaviour. Since the space industry is characterised by the use of products in harsh environments with no room for failure, strict requirements govern product development, manufacturing and use of space applications. Parts have to be shown to meet specific quality control requirements, which is done through a qualification process. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate challenges with development and qualification of AM parts for space applications, and their impact on the product development process. Specifically, the challenges with powder bed fusion (PBF) processes have been in focus in this thesis.

Four studies have been carried out within this research project. The first was a literature review coupled with visits to AM actors in Sweden that set the direction for the research. The second study consisted of a series of interviews at one company in the space industry to understand the expectations for AM and its implications on product development. This was coupled with a third study consisting of a workshop series with three companies in the space industry. The fourth study was an in-depth look at one company to map the qualification of manufacturing processes in the space industry, and the challenges that are seen for AM. The results from these studies show that engineers in the space industry work under conditions that are not always under their control, and which impact how they are able to be innovative and to introduce new manufacturing technologies, such as AM. The importance of product quality also tends to lead engineers into relying on previous designs meaning incremental, rather than radical, development of products is therefore typical. Furthermore, the qualification of manufacturing processes relies on previous experience which means that introducing new processes, such as AM, is difficult due to the lack of knowledge of their behaviour. Two major challenges with the qualification of critical AM parts for space applications have been identified: (i) the requirement to show that critical parts are damage tolerant which is challenging due to the lack of understanding of AM inherent defects, and (ii) the difficulty of testing parts in representative environments. This implies that the whole product development process is impacted in the development and qualification of AM parts; early, as well as later stages. To be able to utilise the design freedom that comes with AM, the capabilities of the chosen AM process has to be considered. Therefore, Design for Manufacturing (DfM) has evolved into Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM). While DfAM is important for the part design, this thesis also discusses its importance in the qualification of AM parts. In addition, the role of systems engineering in the development and qualification of AM parts for space applications is highlighted. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2018
Series
Licentiate thesis / Luleå University of Technology, ISSN 1402-1757
Keywords
Additive Manufacturing, Space industry, Product Development, Qualification, Design for Additive Manufacturing
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-66699 (URN)978-91-7790-011-5 (ISBN)978-91-7790-012-2 (ISBN)
Presentation
2018-02-08, A1123 - Multistudio, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-28 Created: 2017-11-22 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved
2. Qualification Aspects in Design for Additive Manufacturing: A Study in the Space Industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Qualification Aspects in Design for Additive Manufacturing: A Study in the Space Industry
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this research is to further the understanding of implications for product development and qualification when introducing additive manufacturing (AM) in the context of the space industry. Increased availability of AM machines and alluring potentials such as design freedom and cost-efficient product development and manufacturing has led to a rapid growth in the use of AM. However, the implementation of AM is hampered by lack of process understanding, implying uncertainties for engineers on how to design products for AM. Furthermore, the AM process chain (including e.g. post-processes) is not sufficiently developed and understood, adding further uncertainties. These uncertainties are a challenge when developing products for space applications, especially if they are critical for mission success and hence not allowed to fail. Such products and their manufacturing processes have to comply with strict requirements on verifying performance, quality, and reliability, i.e. product and process qualification. The purpose of this research is to investigate how qualification is addressed during product development in the space industry in order to find improved ways for engineers to explore the capabilities of AM to better understand its possibilities and limitations.

 

The research is specifically focused on the use of powder bed fusion processes by companies developing and manufacturing sub-system components for space applications. It is limited to the manufacturing of components on Earth for use in space. The research approach is qualitative. Five studies provide the empirical foundation for the thesis, in which a total of four companies are included. In particular, one of the companies is studied in-depth, including a development project for a critical AM product. Individual interviews, workshops and focus groups are used for data collection. Furthermore, the in-depth study is based on a longitudinal presence at the company, providing the opportunity to gather data from project meetings and discussions. Collaborative action research with three of the companies provides a research setting to study the development of three AM products (of which the in-depth study is one) and how uncertainties related to the AM process can be addressed.

 

Four aspects of how to address product qualification in Design for AM are deduced: (i) AM knowledge should be built through application-driven development processes, (ii) qualification should be accounted for early and to a larger extent, (iii) suitable and acceptable requirements should be defined through collaboration, and (iv) rapid manufacturing should be utilised to evaluate critical uncertainties. To support engineering teams on how to address these aspects, this thesis presents two contributions to the design field. The first is a design process utilising AM Design Artefacts (AMDAs) to identify, test and evaluate the AM-related uncertainties that are most pressing for a product. Through the iterative use of AMDAs, products designs are successively evolved, enabling a design which meets process capabilities and fulfils product requirements. The AMDA design process is part of the second contribution, a Design for Qualification framework that encourages a qualification-driven development approach for AM products. The framework includes six design tactics that provide guidance for its implementation. The tactics encourage an application-driven development process where qualification is considered early, and where successive steps are taken towards a thorough AM process chain understanding. The framework is designed based on the studied cases, and future research should focus on developing the framework and tactics further to facilitate implementation and wider applicability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå University of Technology, 2020
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keywords
Additive Manufacturing, Design for Additive Manufacturing, Qualification, Design for Qualification, Space Industry
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Product Innovation
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-77472 (URN)978-91-7790-520-2 (ISBN)978-91-7790-521-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-03-17, A109, Luleå, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Rymd för innovation och tillväxt (RIT)Radical Innovation and Qualification using Additive Manufacturing (RIQAM)
Funder
Swedish National Space BoardEuropean Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
Available from: 2020-01-22 Created: 2020-01-21 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved

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Scopushttp://utw10945.utweb.utexas.edu/sites/default/files/2017/Manuscripts/QualificationChallengeswithAdditiveManufacturi.pdf

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Dordlofva, ChristoTörlind, Peter

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