Aurora Labs to showcase 3D printing capabilities for defence industry

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By Colin Hay - 
Aurora Labs ASX A3D test defence industry 3D printed gas turbine

Aurora Labs’ (ASX: A3D) strategy to target the defence industry has been stepped up with the company revealing plans to demonstrate the potential to create complex gas turbine components through 3D printing technology.

The defence sector was identified as a prime target by Aurora in a recent intensive research and development program focused on identifying new markets for the company’s 100% owned and patented multilayered concurrent printing (MCP) technologies.

The technology has been found to provide increased productivity and cost reduction benefits over existing 3D printing platforms, with Aurora focusing its attention on advancing MCP to a new prototyping stage with plans to demonstrate its capabilities and provide a platform for further commercial discussions with manufacturers in defence and other industries.

Next demonstration stage

That strategy is about to enter its next stage when a unique example of the MCP technology capabilities is set to be placed on show at an event attended by potential defence manufacturing sector customers in Sydney this week.

Aurora chief executive officer Rebekah Letheby said the company will be on hand to display the MCP system’s capacity to create highly complex objects that can save users both time and money.

The Aurora demonstration will feature a 130mm outside diameter by 150mm high, gas turbine component. The product has been designed as an example of the printing abilities of the laser powder bed fusion machine designed and built by the A3D team.

Highly complex creation

Ms Letheby said the technical complexity of a gas turbine component is highly regarded within the additive manufacturing industry.

It features numerous channels and through-holes that need to be printed without support and must be free of residual powder once removed from the build chamber.

The ability to design, manufacture, process and prepare the gas turbine for display in a matter of several days is a massive advantage for defence applications where supply chain delays are largely unacceptable and solutions tom part failures and replacements require near immediate response times.

“The successful printing of such complex features is a testament to the team’s expertise. It shows our customers that we have a machine capable of printing at a high level of technical difficulty and that they can rely on an Aurora machine to do such demanding work, meeting quality specifications.”

Gas turbines are known for having a high power to weight ratio and can be easily high weighted or reduced in complexity by additive manufacturing design process, furthering their use in defence applications.

Overarching commercialisation strategy

Successfully proving the benefits of its MCP technology on a widely-used piece of equipment matches the company’s overarching commercialisation strategy of demonstrating A3D’s proficiency in developing printers that not only align with industry requirements but also present a compelling proposition.

In particular the company is looking to feature its products’ robustness and the high-powered laser capabilities that are well suited for industrial applications.

The company’s patented MCP technology is considered a potentially disruptive change to the 3D printing market as it breaks the process of single layer printing as it can print on multiple layers concurrently. This increases production speed and allows more material to be melted in an efficient timeframe.

Step change for 3D printing

Aurora’s strategy is to confirm the technology’s compelling value proposition to industry to deliver a seamless integration of ongoing product development which incorporates a step change in the printing process through utilising MCP’s unique printing benefits.

The company recently launched a new A3D printer design, the AL250, offering hybrid MCP print capability in the form of bidirectional recoating of powders integrated with A3D’s patented MCP technology.

The prototypes created will have central to their design, a focus on efficiencies of machine costs, reducing the number of complex laser systems, maximising laser melting of material, and maximising printer bed size while exploiting the MCP patent to its full by designing new recoating systems.