Falcontech, a manufacturing service provider for the aerospace industry, has announced that it will be kitting out its “Super AM Factory” with 50 Farsoon metal 3D printing systems. By first installing 20 Farsoon machines by the end of 2020, the Chinese aerospace specialist plans to enhance its manufacturing capacity, facilitating series production on a grand scale.
Metal PBF with Falcontech
Falcontech covers everything from materials, manufacturing, and post-processing to applications and supporting services (all with an AS9100 certification). The company has been operating SLM machines for seven years, and has recently focused on expanding its series production capabilities – this is where the Super AM Factory comes in.
Falcontech first invested in Farsoon when it installed a number of its metal AM machines in 2019, namely the FS421M, the FS301M, and the FS271M. They also jointly worked on a custom large-format system specifically for producing aerospace parts with a huge build volume of 620x620x1100mm. Falcontech has since used its fleet of metal AM systems to produce spacecraft components for a variety of key aerospace projects.
Yu Hai, General Manager of the Metal AM Solutions Unit, Falcontech, states: “We see exceptional performance and stability in the Farsoon FS421M metal system via multiple series production jobs since the installation. We are thrilled by the high-quality parts manufactured taking advantage of the benefits from Farsoon AM. With the increasing demand of manufacturing orders, Falcontech will further expand our production capacity and improve turnaround time for delivery with more Farsoon metal systems.”
In-house development of metal AM
Farsoon’s metal application team has extended its collaboration with Falcontech further, as they have been making “significant technical progress” in metal AM. This includes productivity optimization, the creation of thin wall structures as thin as 0.5mm, and improved dimensional accuracy. They have also worked to improve build surface roughness on their parts while closely controlling the metallurgical quality of their aerospace components.
Falcontech attributes its ability to work with a high degree of flexibility to Farsoon’s “open for industry” philosophy. So far, it has developed a total of 20 new material processing parameters for aerospace applications, with materials such as titanium, aluminum, and nickel-based superalloys. The work has allowed Falcontech to establish an extensive processing database for aerospace materials, aiding with future development and manufacturing quality control.
Industrial applications typically rely on metal parts due to their superior mechanical properties. 3D printing metal has been known to lead to porosities and defects, however, which can have a detrimental effect on the strength of the part. Recently, researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have discovered a way of reducing defects in metal parts 3D printed via LPBF. The team was able to reduce the spatter of loose powder spitting out of the melt track, increasing the quality of each layer. Elsewhere, ExOne is promoting its new #MakeMetalGreen campaign to draw attention to the sustainable 3D printing of metal parts – an aspect of manufacturing which tends to be overlooked for capital gain.
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Featured image shows Farsoon metal 3D printers on the Falcontech shop floor. Photo via Falcontech.