Design for Qualification: A process for developing additive manufacturing components for critical systems
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Dordlofva, Christo; Törlind, Peter
Institution: Luleå University of Technology
Additive Manufacturing (AM), and more specifically Powder Bed Fusion, offers design freedom, functional integration, and cost efficient manufacturing of customised products. These design and manufacturing capabilities are relevant for the space industry with its characteristic low production volumes, high-performance products, pursuit for low weight, and a recent need for cost reduction due to increased market competition. At the same time, the space industry is characterised by products in harsh environments without room for failure, nor the possibility to repair broken parts in service. Product qualification is therefore an important part of the product development process in the space industry, with the purpose of showing that the product design and its manufacturing process fulfils the technical requirements. Qualification is a challenge for AM that currently exhibits a sensitivity in part mechanical properties based on geometry and build orientation, as well as a variability in process outcome. As with other manufacturing processes, design engineers have to take process capabilities into account during product design to render a manufacturable product(Design for AM), but also to achieve the right quality and function (Design for Excellence). Apart from manufacturability, product qualification has to be considered early in the product development process of AM parts. Given the lack of understanding of AM process characteristics, design engineers are in need of design supports to facilitate the qualification of critical AM parts. This paper presents a Design for Qualification process model for development of AM components in critical space systems. The model is proposed based on research performed in the space industry with several case companies.