3D printing is set to spark a global revolution in manufacturing and Australian company Amaero Engineering is leading the way – Ruby Lohman, Australia Unlimited.
Amaero has been featured in an article published by Austrade. The article summarises the creation of Amaero as a spin-off from the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing and goes on to describe it’s success in manufacturing aerospace components.
Through our partnership with MCAM, weâ€™re right up there in terms of global technology leadership,â€ť says Amaeroâ€™s Chief Executive Officer Barrie Finnin.Â â€śYou can 3D print parts that you canâ€™t make any other way, the advantages of those parts could be things like reduced mass or better heat exchange. For certain applications in the aerospace industry thatâ€™s very attractive. Those are the kind of performance benefits the industry is prepared to pay a premium for.â€ť
Whilst it is understood that conventional manufacturing methods will continue to dominate, the rise of additive manufacturing is changing the way engineers design things. Complex internal structures that were previously impossible to create are now achievable through 3D printing. Â As a result there are a growing number businesses establishing themselves in the additive manufacturing industry however many of them lack the knowledge required to use the machines. Finnin says that even the companies that make 3D printing machines are not experts on how to effectively use them.
â€śWe work with selective laser melting or powder-bed processes but also use direct laser deposition type processes as well,â€ť says Finnin. â€śThose technologies are tricky. You canâ€™t just buy a machine off the shelf, use the parameters that the machine supplier has given you and expect to go into production. It wonâ€™t work.â€ť
Amaero uses five different metal 3D printing machines including the Concept Laser XLine 2000R, the world’s largest metal melting machine. The company is currently one of two employing this level of technology here in Australia and there are very few local experts. To address this Amaero offers paid internships, taking inexperienced engineers and training them to join their world-leading team of experts.
The full article is available here.
Monash University Amaero Engineering are have invested in the Xline 2000R from Concept Laser. With a build volume of 800 x 400 x 500 mmÂł this is the largest metal 3D printer in the world thus far. The Xline 200R is one of five that have been manufactured to date and is the only unit outside of America and Europe.
â€śThe new printer allows us to make large complex shapes and unique tools quicker, lighter and with less wasteâ€ť –Â Professor Xinhua Wu, who leads the Monash University 3D printing initiative has stated
The enormous printer has been put to work already, producing the largest metal aerospace component made with a powder bed 3D printer in the world. The aircraft hinge (pictured below) is from a Chinese jet airliner and measures 40 x 80 x 39 cm and weighs 11 kg.
Amaero CEO Barrie Finnin has said â€śThis new printer creates promising opportunities for advanced manufacturing in Australia for global markets… …Last year, we printed production components that are now flying in passenger jets and small turbojet engines. Our technology is also now operating in our manufacturing facility in Toulouse with our partner Safranâ€”the French-based global aerospace and defence company.
â€śNow we can literally go bigger. This new capability will be of great interest to our aerospace and automotive customers in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.â€ť
Amaero has partnered with Monash Motorsports to help optimise the design of their formula-style racing car components for additive manufacturing. The team comprises of undergraduate students from a range of faculties and competes the inÂ the world’s largest engineering design competition, Formula SAE.
For the last two years the team has ranked second in the world and Amaero would like to assist them in holding or improving this position be manufacturing stronger and lighter parts for their vehicles. Pictured below is the M15 headrest that was optimised and printed by Amaero in aluminium alloy. As a result the weight of the part has been halved without compromising its performance.
You can read more about the partnership and the activities of Monash Motorsport on their website here.
“Aussie startup races into new 3D printing niche”
Amaero has been mentioned a new article published by Manufacturers’ Monthly. The article discusses a potential new “killer application” for Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology, high performance heat exchangers. The Conflux CoreTMÂ Heat Exchanger was prototyped by Amaero Engineering Pty Ltd overÂ six one-month-long iteration cycles.
According to Michael Fuller, a former Formula 1 engineer and founder of Conflux Technology – â€śWeâ€™re able to achieve structural efficiencies so that we have light weight, weâ€™ve got surface area density efficiencies because of the geometric freedoms â€“ so weâ€™ve got good thermal exchange â€“ and our fluid pathways allow us to achieve a good compromise between pumping losses and thermal exchange.â€ť
This result is only possible through the design freedom offered by layer-by-layer printing and the quick turn around from Amaero enabled the Conlux team to squash manufacturing time and spend more time on the design.
Conflux believes it’s product represents the next generation in heat exchange technology and Amaero was pleased to play an important role in its development.