Metal additive manufacturing leader SLM Solutions has announced an update on an ongoing collaboration with Honeywell to qualify 3D printed aluminium parts.

Working with aluminium alloy F357, the two have developed parameter sets that are said to deliver considerably improved material properties compared to parts manufactured through die-casting. Through this partnership, the goal is to apply the material for use in the production of aerospace components with a high layer thickness in order to reduce manufacturing times and costs.

Honeywell first began exploring AM aluminium parts and parameters last year using an increased layer thickness of 60 and 90 µm on a quad-laser SLM 500 Selective Laser Melting Machine. SLM Solutions initially provided Honeywell with generic aluminium parameter sets to complete material qualification but development of these new parameter sets using a layer thickness of 60 µm and 700 W lasers is said to have now reached an "important milestone", citing material properties which exceed that of conventional die-cast parts and overall metallic properties for aerospace.

The material, a new beryllium free version of AlSi7Mg0,6 (A357), is highly sought in aerospace due to its lightweight properties, corrosion resistance and desired mechanical properties, such as high-strength across a wide temperature range in comparison to conventional aluminium alloys. It also provides great weldability and can be readily post-processed via a number of techniques.

Dr. Sören Wiener, Senior Director Technology and Advanced Operations at Honeywell Aerospace, comments on his work with the SLM 500: “In particular, the open architecture system of the SLM machine provides huge advantages like high flexibility and parameter sets can be customised. With this open access strategy and the great support of SLM Solutions, we step forward to achieving our next goals."

Benjamin Haas, Product Manager for Materials & Parameters at SLM Solutions explains: “It is a privilege to work together with one of the leading companies in the aerospace world. This way, we can learn a lot from each other leading to perfectly suited, industry proven solutions from which all of our customers can benefit.”

Image: Selective Laser Melting technology/Image Credit: SLM Solutions