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Advancing Aerospace Manufacturing with DED technology at the Laser Center of Competence

In the past decade, Additive Manufacturing technologies have garnered significant industrial interest, with Directed Energy Deposition (DED) emerging as a standout innovation. DED involves precisely depositing material onto a substrate using a focused energy source, such as a laser, enabling the creation of complex three-dimensional parts through layering.

Advancing Aerospace Manufacturing with DED technology at the Laser Center of Competence

It is particularly impressive to see how Directed Energy Deposition (DED) has revolutionized the aerospace industry. Recent advancements have led to the development of more efficient propulsion systems and lightweight structural components, showcasing DED's ability to meet the stringent demands of aerospace applications. The integration of advanced materials and optimized design processes has significantly improved performance and reduced production times.

The Oerlikon Laser Center of Competence is at the forefront of meeting the demanding and evolving needs of our customers with the latest innovations in DED technology.

The Laser Center of Competence in Wohlen

At the Oerlikon Laser Competence Center in Wohlen, Switzerland, a dedicated team of experts, led by Dr. Arkadi Zikin, continuously pushes the boundaries of laser technologies, with a particular focus on DED. Unlike traditional research institutions, the Laser Competence Center actively involves customers from feasibility studies to industrialization. One research focus is developing an additive manufacturing process for complex large-scale components for rocket propulsion systems.

Central to their success is the 7-axis 3D Laser Center Gantry. This highly precise machine allows for the construction of intricate structures while simultaneously controlling the temperature throughout the entire process.

As a significant highlight, and based on our growth over the past several years, 2024 will see an expansion with the addition of two more machines, recently purchased from ARNOLD Lasersysteme Ravensburg. These state-of-the-art machines will enhance our capabilities and further strengthen customer support by enabling faster production times and higher precision in our manufacturing processes.

Advanced Additive Manufacturing through DED technology

Utilizing Directed Energy Deposition (DED), the Center has developed a process for manufacturing intricate components for rocket engines using special space-grade alloys. These components, with heights exceeding one meter and slim wall thicknesses under one millimeter, incorporate complex structures like cooling channels, resulting in significantly lighter parts. Currently, there are additional projects exploring the applications of copper and aluminum alloys for the space sector.

With an eye on DED's benefits - high deposition rates, minimal material waste, and excellent mechanical properties - the Center remains committed to advancing aerospace solutions. Dr. Zikin and his team are dedicated to exploring the full potential of DED, continually striving to redefine what's achievable in aerospace manufacturing.

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