Project will investigate improving sustainability for additive manufacturing in the space sector.
Titomic is based in Australia and is known for its Titomic Kinetic Fusion (TKF) 3D printing process, which will be the technology used to explore the potential of titanium. The company recently received a $2.325 million grant from the Australian government for the initiative and will use locally sourced titanium that is easily found in Australia—which could reduce manufacturing and environmental costs.
“Under the agreement, Boeing will provide the designs and engineering expertise to enable Titomic to demonstrate its cutting-edge kinetic fusion additive manufacturing technology on the production of space parts,” said Paul Watson, Boeing Defence Australia director Aerospace Engineering and Production. “Demonstrating that additive manufacturing technology, or large-scale 3D printing, using green titanium produces highly resilient, lightweight components will have broad-ranging application across the space sector.”
The components produced under this agreement will initially be earmarked for Australia’s JP9102 tender for the Australian Defence Satellite Communication System that would bolster the country’s sovereign satellite communications capabilities.
Titanium is a promising material for use in 3D printing. It offers high mechanical strength and has a high strength-to-weight ratio and superior corrosion resistance compared to stainless steel. These properties have made it a popular additive manufacturing component in aerospace, the medical field, race cars and electronics. In aerospace, the metal is used everywhere from the F-22 fighter jet and the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to rocket engines, pressure vessels and structural components. It’s even on NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover.
The metal is also considered to be more environmentally sustainable than similar materials. In addition, using titanium can help reduce time and costs by eliminating the need for significant raw mineral processing.
How the Titomic Kinetic Fusion process works.
Titomic will use its proprietary and patented TKF process, which the company claims is the largest and fastest metal 3D additive manufacturing technology in the world. The company’s TKF 9000, which has a 9m x 3m x 1.5m build capacity, creates load-bearing structures by applying cold-gas dynamic spraying of titanium or titanium alloy particles onto a scaffold. It enables cost-efficient manufacturing with titanium and other high-performance metals, without limitations on size.
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