The European Space Agency (ESA) selected Siemens Digital Industries Software to develop aerospace design applications for metal additive manufacturing. The applications will use Siemens’ end-to-end software for industrial additive manufacturing that combines generative engineering, topology optimization, predictive analytics, process simulation, build preparation and production execution.
The two-year long project, named Design4AM, will be a collaboration between Siemens and Sonaca, a specialist in aerospace structures, with financial support from ESA and the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (Belspo). The goal of the Design4AM project is to deliver a validated process for using Siemens’ additive manufacturing software to design and produce optimized, light-weighted structural parts for space applications, such as fittings (structurally bonded to CFRP panel), supports, and bipods.
Weight is a particularly critical concern for space applications; according to industry reports, one pound of payload equates to $10,000 in launch costs. Additive manufacturing techniques can be used to lightweight nearly any kind of complex structure in launchers, propulsion, satellites and various spacecraft components.
Siemens’ NX software and Simcenter software enable engineers to explore a range of design concepts in an automated closed-loop process that takes into consideration engineering performance, manufacturing process and operation cost requirements. These tools can account for manufacturing constraints such as thermo-mechanical part distortion, the structural part orientation in the building chamber or the design of supporting structures. The integrated software environment can shorten the part conceptual design and optimization process, helping enable higher performance structures to be manufactured.
“Additive manufacturing can help ESA reshape everything for optimal performance at reduced cost, in comparison to traditional manufacturing methods that require multiple steps, tools, and treatments to achieve the desired outcome,” said Didier Granville, RTD projects Manager for Siemens in Liège. “Working with Sonaca, we will be able to help ESA take advantage of additive manufacturing to deliver high-performance structures capable of withstanding the extreme forces that occur during space satellite launches.”
Siemens Digital Industries Software