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Major partnership for TWI

Connect, no. 146, January/February 2007, p.2

An example of laser DMD
An example of laser DMD

TWI has been chosen to take part in a major aerospace research project that will bring the UK to the fore in the design and manufacture of aircraft wings.

The Integrated Wing Aerospace Programme, led by Airbus UK, is a collaboration between government and industry to manufacture wings that reduce environmental impact by reducing noise, fuel consumption and emissions.

TWI's role will be to apply its cutting edge laser direct metal deposition technique on various landing gear components as part of a work package led by Messier-Dowty, specialists in landing gear design and manufacture.

Laser deposition uses powdered material to build components in layers thus eliminating many problems associated with normal manufacturing methods and enabling swift reaction to design changes.

The DMD system uses lasers with beams which may be focused to a spot from 0.2mm to 2.5mm in diameter. Lasers are used because of their accuracy and low heat input allowing fully dense, defect-free deposits to be made. The process provides rapid, accurate placement of materials such as crack-sensitive alloys like nickel-based alloys.

The programme, valued at £34m, has over a dozen partners and aims to find the best technologies for aircraft components.

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