Supplier Spotlight

Video Exclusives

Airbus updates on Skyways urban delivery drone

Airbus Helicopters reports that it plans to start field trials later this year in Singapore of the UAV, which is able to deliver parcels that weigh up to 4kg.

Click here to watch video

16 February, 2018



Ehang autonomous aerial vehicle manned flight tests

Chinese firm Ehang announced that it has achieved a series of manned flight tests carrying one and two passengers, including its CEO and government officials.

Click here to watch video

06 February, 2018

 

To watch more videos, click here

We'd like to know, what do you think are the greatest engineering challenges to be solved for electric and hybrid aircraft, before they can be used more widely in aviation?

Industry Opinion

« back to blog listings

Consider inspections from the start when using 3D printing

With the use of additive manufacturing (AM) on the increase in the aerospace industry, the lack of standards for testing such products is a source of growing concern.

AM offers total freedom in designing components but at the same time, it makes non-destructive testing (NDT) difficult. Firstly, the more complex the component is both internally and externally, the harder it is to inspect. Another issue is that AM creates a surface finish that is typically rougher than conventional manufacturing processes so inspection methods such as ultrasound, which require a finer surface, are less suitable.

Image courtesy of 3T RPD Ltd.

Internationally, a lot of effort is going into creating inspection standards and there is a real sense of urgency, as I am aware from my own work helping to develop best practice guidelines for BSI and ASTM.

X-ray computed tomography is emerging as the most promising inspection technology but it has its limitations and there is room for improvement to adapt it better to AM although research is taking place in this area. While computed/digital radiography is sometimes used, detecting flaws accurately depends on selecting the correct settings, such as enough projections to cover the part thoroughly.

The ideal solution would be to inspect products during the manufacturing process and take a snapshot of every layer. Some machines already have the capability to do this, but the next step would be to develop systems which could spot the defects themselves and raise the alarm.

Another solution might be to inspect after machining. The smoother surface would potentially allow the use of other inspection methods, although this would add further to the manufacturing cost if the part is found to be defective after machining. Another post-process is hot isostatic pressing, which has shown to reduce the size of internal defects in the parts.

For now, companies should use only experienced practitioners, carry out visual inspection as an initial step, and when in doubt use double testing – where the product is inspected twice by different inspectors. Ultimately, manufacturers need to consider how critical the part is in safety terms and the requirements for inspection when making the decision to use additive manufacturing.

 

Dr Ben Dutton is a senior research engineer in the Metrology and NDT group at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Coventry, UK. An instrumentation scientist, he has over 25 years’ experience in both academia and industry and 12 years’ experience in NDT. Dr Dutton will be speaking about inspection of AM components at 4pm on Tuesday 8 September at Materials Testing 2015 at Telford International Centre. For further information see www.materialstesting.org

 

Comments:

There are currently no comments.

If you would like to post a comment about this blog, please click here.
RECEIVE THE
LATEST NEWS


Your email address:



Read Latest Issue

Read Latest Issue

Web Exclusives

In just six months, the US Air Force publicly announced and flew its Light Attack Experiment, pitching four platforms against a series of demanding mission objectives
Click here to read more

A new flight test project led by Airbus spearheads an EU effort to see if laminar-flow wings can be produced on an industrial scale
Click here to read more

BAE Systems’ structural test team at Brough has now completed a third cycle of F-35A fatigue testing
Click here to read more

Two leading test pilot schools continue to invest in aircraft, equipment and new approaches to better meet the changing needs of industry 
Click here to read more

What role will wind tunnels play in the testing of future aircraft? NASA’s latest supersonic testing program provides some clues
Click here to read more


Supplier Spotlight

Supplier SpotlightClick here for listings and information on leading suppliers covering all aspects of the aerospace testing industry. Want to see your company included? Contact tom.eames@ukimediaevents.com for more details.

Submit your industry opinion

Industry BlogDo you have an opinion you'd like to share with the aerospace testing community? Good or bad, we'd like to hear your views and opinions on the leading issues shaping the industry. Share your comments by sending up to 500 words to anthony.james@ukimediaevents.com

Submit Your Recruitment Ad

Recruitment AdTo send us your recruitment advertising or to receive information on placing a banner please email ben.sampson@ukimediaevents.com