3D Printing ProcessesMaterialsMetal Additive ManufacturingMetals

Honeywell and SLM Solutions fine-tune thick-layered 3D printing of aluminum F357

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As part of a collaborative effort between Honeywell and SLM Solutions, newly developed parameter sets for aluminum alloy F357, a new beryllium-free version of AlSi7Mg0,6 (A357), have led to considerably improved material properties compared to parts produced through die-casting. The work between Honeywell and SLM Solutions, announced in 2019, was based on metal powder bed fusion 3D printing with high layer thickness and it was aimed at a reduction of manufacturing times and costs for production of 3D printed aircraft components that meet the requirements of the aerospace industry.

As part of the collaboration that kicked off in 2019, Honeywell began qualification efforts for aluminum builds using an increased layer thickness of 60 and 90 µm on their quad-laser SLM®500 Selective Laser Melting Machine. SLM Solutions provided generic aluminum parameter sets for Honeywell to complete material qualification to achieve optimal material properties. The development of these new parameter sets for aluminum alloy F357 using a layer thickness of 60 µm and 700 W lasers has now reached an important milestone. Material properties have significantly increased in comparison to conventional die-cast parts and are now exceeding overall acknowledged metallic properties for aerospace.

“In particular, the open architecture system of the SLM® machine provides huge advantages like high flexibility and parameter sets can be customized,” commented Dr. Sören Wiener, Senior Director Technology and Advanced Operations at Honeywell Aerospace, on his work with the SLM®500: “With this open access strategy and the great support of SLM Solutions, we step forward to achieving our next goals”

Aluminum alloy F357 is not only lightweight but offers significantly better corrosion resistance and desired mechanical properties, such as high-strength across a wide temperature range in comparison to conventional aluminum alloys. It has great weldability and excellent suitability for post-processing, like mechanical machining or electrochemical such as anodizing. This combination of properties enables F357 to be perfectly suited for thin-walled and complex structures in, for example, the aerospace or automotive industry.

Benjamin Haas, Product Manager for Materials & Parameters at SLM Solutions explained: “It is a privilege to work together with one of the leading companies in the aerospace world. This way, we can learn a lot from each other leading to perfectly suited, industry-proven solutions from which all of our customers can benefit”.

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