Renishaw and Aeromet advancing use of aluminum alloy for additive manufacturing

Renishaw and Aeromet International Limited have announced they are working together to establish additive manufacturing process parameters and material properties for Aeromet’s A20X® aluminum alloy.

Aeromet supply aluminum and magnesium castings to the Aerospace and Defence Industries. Customers include Rolls-Royce, Boeing, Safran and Airbus. The international company has UK facilities in Worcester and Kent, together agents representing the company in the U.S. and APAC region.

Laser melting in the Renishaw AM400 build chamber
Laser melting in the Renishaw AM400 build chamber

High-performance alloy for metal additive manufacturing

The project aims to refine the processing techniques for the high-performance alloy on Renishaw metal additive manufacturing (AM) systems. A20X® is an aluminum-copper alloy with a “highly-refined microstructure and a unique solidification mechanism.”

Processing parameters for the modulated laser used in Renishaw’s metal additive manufacturing systems include point distance, exposure time, laser powers, spot size, and hatch distance. OEM’s like Renishaw are frequently working closer with material partners and also software companies to improve performance.

Renishaw and Aeromet are also working on a range of heat treatment regimes to deliver optimum properties for additively manufactured components.

Additive manufacturing heat treatments often refer to Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP). By HIPing an additively manufactured metal component at temperatures reaching 2,000°C in a high pressure containment vessel density can be improved and defects removed.

Developing industrial AM processes

Marc Saunders, Director of Global Solutions Centres at Renishaw, said, “Renishaw’s metal AM systems feature high power lasers, an inert processing environment and open parameters, making them ideal for supporting innovative new materials like A20X.”

“We are working closely with Aeromet to qualify this exciting new alloy on our machines. Through our network of AM Solutions Centres, we can help manufacturers to develop industrial AM processes using A20X.”

Renishaw's Marc Saunders speaking at the IMTS AM conference (photo by Michael Petch)
Renishaw’s Marc Saunders speaking at the IMTS AM conference (photo by Michael Petch)

Mike Bond, Director of AMT a Division of Aeromet adds,

“A20X is being rapidly adopted for additive manufacture of aero engine, airframe, space, defence and automotive parts.  It’s unique combination of high strength, high ductility and performance at high operating temperatures make it ideal for light-weight, stressed components. We look forward to making processing techniques for this innovative alloy more widely available to accelerate its adoption.”

Renishaw recently reported their latest financial results, figures that show a 25% increase in profits. Company stock has also enjoyed a strong 2017 so far, gaining over 70% in value to date.

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