Additive manufacturing allows the creation of complex geometries and strong and lightweight parts in a cost-effective way. This technology is especially useful for rocket engines development for in space propulsion. The Satellite Applications Catapult continues to remove the barriers to growth for the UK Space Industry by making this technology available to companies on a pay-as-you-go basis, working with the Catapult’s Manufacturing for Space team.
The specific technology of the MetalFAB is Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF). It has a large build platform with net build envelope of 420 x 420 x 400 mm. The material that is currently being used is Inconel 718 with a layer thickness of 40 μm. It has 2 lasers of 500W and has an accuracy of ~0.05mm. It is possible to remotely access and monitor the printing processes with continuous video feed.