Rolls Royce to 3D print aerospace parts with SLM Solutions quad-laser technology

Rolls Royce is ramping up its additive manufacturing capabilities with the adoption of SLM Solutions metal AM technology.

The engineering giant is said to be leveraging the German 3D printing leader’s large SLM 500 quad-laser systems for the manufacture of aerospace components and is also joining SLM’s beta customer programme for future developments.

Meddah Hadjar, CEO of SLM Solutions Group AG commented: “Rolls-Royce is very advanced in additive layer manufacturing, with a state-of-the-art approach and expert team working on extremely complex metal additive manufacturing solutions. SLM Solutions recognised the need at Rolls-Royce for a supplier to support with equipment qualification. We work closely to develop products that meet their needs to assure aerospace certified part quality levels. This way the Rolls-Royce team can document their expertise and control of the systems adhering to strict regulations and keep their ambitious and innovative additive production plans on track.”

Rolls Royce selected the systems to meet its high productivity and rigorous quality control demands. The SLM 500’s four lasers enable build rates up to 171 cm3 along with automated, closed-loop material supply, recovery and sieving to minimise operator handling of metal powder. In an announcement, the company noted the machine’s inert gas flow control as a major factor in its decision to adopt the technology which allows users to maintain a controlled working atmosphere across the build chamber and achieve optimal printing results.

Neil Mantle, Head of Additive Layer Manufacturing at Rolls-Royce added: “We are delighted to be working with SLM Solutions and using their quad-laser machines. Rolls-Royce continues to develop our additive layer manufacturing capability to ensure we are at the forefront of advanced manufacturing. We knew that transferring our expertise and knowledge gained from single laser machines to multi-laser platforms would require a close working relationship and SLM Solutions have provided this.”

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