Safran Electrical & Power designs and produces electrical systems for commercial and military aircraft for fixed and rotary wing aircraft. In an aim to improve design knowledge coupled with more customers requesting parts to be made by additive manufacturing (AM), Safran Electrical & Power sought to enlist an AM design specialist.
“We came across Betatype in a search for 3D printing specialists and it was clear after our initial discussions that they had the knowledge and skill-set we were looking for to add value in our new part production program,” says Dr Mark Craig, the Materials, Special Processes & Composites company expert at Safran Electrical & Power. He coordinates AM within the Power division.
The Power Division 3D printing team sought ways to improve the design of an electrical generator housing. By employing the technical advantages of 3D printing, Betatype could improve the design of the housing by focusing on various key areas: improved strength, increased stiffness and a reduction in overall weight.
Betatype developed a proof of concept using an ultra-high density lattice as part of a sandwich structure with over 10 million elements as part of a case study. The initial work has been affirmative, the company reports, adding that it plans to pursue this avenue further within housings and other components.
“We knew creating a more complex, higher density lattice structure was the key to achieving what Safran was looking for in the part,” Betatype CEO, Sarat Babu explains. “Applying our technology and multi-scale approach, we were able to control the scan path and exposure settings down to each element of the sandwich structure’s design. By pushing the AM process of laser powder bed fusion well beyond its standard processes, we created the ultra-high density lattice structure required.”
Betaype’s proof of concept proved to be success, Safran reports. It optimized Safran’s generator housing designs for AM, unifying the design from several complex machined components into one part. Betatype was able to dramatically reduce the overall part count and manufacturing times.
Betatype, founded in 2012, collaborates with customers across a variety of sectors including consumer, industrial, aerospace, medical and motor sport—working together to deliver functional components through AM. AM provides control over shape, structure and material in a single process. To maximize these capabilities, Betatype built “Engine,” a new data processing platform for managing and controlling multi-scale design. By combining Engine with the company’s team’s strong foundation in material science, engineering and industrial design, Betatype can achieve greater fidelity at every scale of AM part design—from part form and architectured materials to AM process physics, the company notes.
Betatype’s multi-scale approach delivers with AM by applying it to design complex parts that cannot be easily built through traditional processes and ensuring they can be manufactured viably.
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Sources: Press materials received from the company.