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EOS offers powder-to-product manufacturing with laser-sintering for unmanned systems

Unique, complex aircraft components, many of them impossible to create using traditional manufacturing processes, will be on display at EOS booth #3407 at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Unmanned Systems North America exhibition (August 24-27, Denver, Co.). Udo Behrendt, Key Account Manager Aerospace at EOS, the world-leading manufacturer of laser-sintering systems, will be providing technical background about aerospace applications during the show.

EOS customer Northwest UAV Propulsion Systems (NWUAV) is exhibiting a FORMIGA P 100 plastic laser-sintering system from EOS, as well as a complete unmanned vehicle, at booth #1214. Northwest Rapid Manufacturing, part of the Northwest UAV family of companies, manufactures production parts and prototypes for NWUAV using its EOSINT P 390 and P 730 equipment. Together, the companies provide parts and assemblies including engine and cooling components for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) made by Insitu, Inc., and others. These components are stable in hot environments and are tough, pliable, and robust in harsh conditions such as exposure to fuel.

"Manufacturers of UAVs face stringent demands, both for part requirements and delivery schedules," says Alexander Dick, VP of Laser-Sintering Operations at Northwest Rapid. "EOS laser-sintering equipment enables us to meet tight tolerances, ensure component strength and performance, and deliver parts on or before deadlines." Northwest UAV is an active member of the AUVSI Cascade Chapter, serving as a sponsor and providing two chapter officers in 2010.

"The huge growth of the unmanned-systems market has triggered a wave of innovative and unique designs," says EOS' Behrendt. "Our customers are using metal and plastics laser-sintering to push the boundaries of those designs."

Other EOS customers at the show are Paramount PDS (Booth #1618), who will exhibit plastic UAV parts created with an EOSINT P 730; Morris Technologies, Inc., (Booth #2729), who will display titanium aerospace components and prototypes created with direct metal laser-sintering (DMLS); and Solid Concepts (Booth #1226), who is featuring SLS-manufactured flight structures for Aerotonomy's new Cruise-Efficient ESTOL research aircraft. In addition to the aircraft's form-fitted seven-gallon fuel tank, all of the primary structures that enable the advanced high-lift technologies such as leading-edge blowing, circulation-control flaps, and airflow plenums were manufactured with EOS laser-sintering equipment. Solid Concepts manufactures plastic laser-sintered aerospace parts from a wide range of applications and materials.

Plastic and metal laser-sintering are already widespread in UAV and other aerospace applications. In addition to producing durable, lightweight and complex parts, the technology requires no tooling, thereby reducing upfront times and costs and making re-designs and customization easy and affordable.

"On any given UAV system, once its customer and field use changes, the only features that stay the same may be the frame and most of the fuselage," says Frederick Claus, Business Development Manager at Solid Concepts. "The manufacturing flexibility and speed of laser-sintering have proved their worth in this industry time and again."

Among the materials currently available for laser-sintering of UAV components are:

· Several polyamides (including a flame-retardant material)

· EOS PEEK HP3 (a high-temperature thermoplastic polymer)

· Titanium

· Cobalt chrome

· IN718 (a nickel-chromium super alloy)

Additional materials for UAV and other aerospace applications are in development.

Press release issued by EOS Electro Optical Systems Ltd on July 27, 2010


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EOS Electro Optical Systems Ltd Laser Tooling, Additive Manufacturing


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