A group of companies led by Aeromet International have been awarded funding from the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) to further develop the innovative A20X advanced aluminium powder for additive manufacturing (AM). As part of the High Strength Aluminium Powder for Additive Manufacture (HighSAP) project Aeromet, along with partners Renishaw, Rolls-Royce and PSI, are set to further optimize the A20X alloy for use in additive manufacturing and produce a set of demonstrator parts.
NATEP, an Aerospace Growth Partnership initiative, is an industry led programme supporting UK-wide companies in the aerospace supply chain to develop innovative technologies.
“We are very pleased to have been awarded NATEP funding for this exciting project. By working with our partners, we hope to further develop our powder technology and create a new option for high strength additive manufactured parts. NATEP is a great way for innovative companies to come together to develop cutting edge technologies”.
Mike Bond, Director of Advanced Material Technology at Aeromet.
A20X is a family of next generation high-strength aluminium alloy technologies, developed and patented by Aeromet. The A20X family includes the Metallic Materials Properties Development and Standardization (MMPDS) approved A205 casting alloy and A20X™ powder for additive manufacturing. A20X is an aluminium-copper alloy with a highly-refined microstructure and a unique solidification mechanism, giving it greater strength, fatigue and thermal characteristics compared to other alloys. A20X castings are already in production for high strength, high temperature aerospace applications and the HighSAP project aims to exploit the potential of A20X™ for additive manufacturing.
Dr Martin McMahon, Business Development Manager of Global Solutions Centres at Renishaw added, “Renishaw is very pleased to be a part of this project and for the innovative new A20X™ aluminium powder to be further developed using Renishaw’s additive manufacturing systems and network of Solutions Centres”. He continued, “Renishaw’s state of the art metal AM systems feature high power multiple lasers, class leading inert processing environment, and a unique open parameter development platform, making them ideal for investigating innovative new materials like A20X™”.
Paul Murray, Principal Materials Engineer at Rolls-Royce, said that “Rolls-Royce are excited to participate in this project and contribute to the development of this very promising new aluminium alloy. NATEP is a proven program with a strong track record of supporting innovation in the UK aerospace supply chain”. Dr Gordon Kerr of PSI Ltd, added that “PSI are very pleased to be a partner in this project which aligns very well with our strategy of optimizing powders for additive manufacturing. PSI technology combines VIM with inert gas atomization and this project will utilize our knowledge of processing and handling aluminium alloy powders”.
The Aerospace Growth Partnership developed the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Program (NATEP) aimed at small and medium sized suppliers to help them develop their own innovative technologies to enhance their capabilities and increase their ability to win new business with higher tier companies anywhere in the world. The current program builds upon the successful NATEP program which ran between 2013-2017 and is now supported by funding from the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK.
By continuing to develop an aerospace supply chain with a high rate of innovation, rich in new technologies the UK will be better able to offer the right products and services, at the right time and ahead of competition. This will ensure that market opportunities are exploited with high value manufacturing work retained in the UK.