SAMULET; Project 4: Project 4.3.1: UFG Ti-6Al-4V for Low Temperature/High Productivity DB/SPF and Project 4.3.2: Hot-Die Forging of Titanium Alloys

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Eng

Abstract

Several process options for the manufacture of components are beset with either quality or economic deficiencies. For example, the cleanliness of surfaces of aerospace components is critical to the production of sound welds using electron-beam welding technology; deficient cleaning methods would result in defective welds. Again, the conversion of Titanium alloys into aerospace components is currently attended to at temperatures at which tool-materials deteriorate rapidly, incurring a prohibitively high tool cost. Converting aerospace materials at high-temperatures would also require specialised tool-materials that are more expensive to cut and capital expenditure that is, typically, four times greater. Current practice is to shoehorn the controlling parameters to enable the manufacture of components. Continuation in this manner is unacceptable from an economic viewpoint. Considering that component designers need to be sufficiently conversant with the geometrical, functional and manufacturing constraints while evolving the form of the component, it follows that new processes, regardless of whether these relate to surface preparation (cleaning), processing at elevated temperatures or to machining to reduce further surface finishing requirements, may only be adopted efficiently, after the critical controlling parameters have been quantified. Project 4: Novel and Transformed Processes, attends to the quantification of the key controlling parameters. Research in the group of novel and transformed processes is with a view to acquiring the know-how to enable the design of components and the associated processes along the value-adding chain. This group refers to the laser cleaning of aerospace materials and components for subsequent processing, since it is known that several defects arise from the failure to meet quality standards. Two aspects of Project 4 refer to the high-temperature conversion of materials into aerospace components. The first of these refers to a new means of manufacturing components at low temperature by introducing a new form of raw material - this ultra-fine-grained variant enables the operation of the conventional processes (diffusion bonding and super-plastic forming) at significantly reduced temperatures, resulting in reduced manufacturing cost. This fine-grained variant will be manufactured and subjected to component forming exercises to demonstrate the new economic balance in manufacturing aerospace components. The second process is hot-die forging of aerospace components. The current practice of bashing Titanium alloys at very high temperatures into a rough form and then whittle away to arrive at the final form is recognised as being expensive. The need to bash the material arises from the fact that the work-material cools too rapidly to operate at the lower forging speeds that can be attended to in presses of lower capital expenditure. If one were to operate at lower temperatures, smaller presses may be used but this balance between bashing the metal at high temperatures and squeezing the work-material at lower temperatures has yet to be defined. The proposed research will define the parameters critical to operating at lower temperatures. The final project refers to an elegant approach to removing the excess materials remaining on components in a manner that reduces the amount of additional downstream processing of surfaces to meet performance standards. By quantifying the character of the cutting tool and the machine on which excess material is removed, the technology will enable the operation of the metal-removal system in a manner that recognises the fact that the character of both, the cutting tool and the machine-tool influence the cut surfaces. Each separate process will assume a role in more cost-effective conversion of raw materials for the aerospace industrial sector and would also impact on the nuclear and automotive industrial sectors.
 
Description 1) Laser cleaning technology for aero-engine fan blade production (passed the Rolls-Royce qualification).
2) Laser cleaning technology for diffusion bonding (BAE Aeroplane Product Manufacturing) - passed the company production quality standard.
3) Scientific knowledge on laser beam interactions with various industrial contaminants and aerospace materials, resulting in a modelling tool for laser cleaning (used by BAE Systems for product evaluation)
4) A novel in-process monitoring system for laser cleaning processed, practically used by Rolls-Royce for aero-engine production.
Exploitation Route 1. Industry deployments.
2. Spinout
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine

 
Description The in-process monitoring system developed in the project has been deployed by Rolls-Royce for aero-engine manufacture during laser cleaning. The in-proces monitoring technique developed in the project has been deployed by Rolls-Royce plc for aero-engine production during laser cleaning. Beneficiaries: Rolls-Royce plc Contribution Method: The project developed and demonstrated an in-process quality monitoring technique for laser cleaning in collaboration with Rolls-Royce and BAE System. The modelling tool developed in the project has been used by BAE System for the evaluation of lasers for taking up the laser cleaning technology in the company. Beneficiaries: BAE Sysems Contribution Method: The project developed a user friendly modelling tool for laser cleaning process
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Funding by BAE Sysems
Amount £698,625 (GBP)
Funding ID 93001376 
Organisation BAE Systems 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2009 
End 03/2013
 
Description Funding by BAE Sysems
Amount £698,625 (GBP)
Funding ID 93001376 
Organisation BAE Systems 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2009 
End 12/2013
 
Description Funding from Rolls-Royce
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Funding ID SAMULET Project 4.1.1 
Organisation Rolls Royce Group Plc 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2010 
End 12/2011
 
Description Funding from Rolls-Royce
Amount £40,000 (GBP)
Organisation Rolls Royce Group Plc 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2014 
End 11/2011
 
Description Funding from TSB
Amount £587,110 (GBP)
Funding ID TP-AB265C/4 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2009 
End 03/2013
 
Description BAE Systems 
Organisation BAE Systems
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Advanced laser technologies for aerospace manufacturing
Collaborator Contribution Application specification and certification of university developed technologies to industrial standards.
Impact Rolls-Royce is also a partner.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Rolls-Royce plc 
Organisation Rolls Royce Group Plc
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006
 
Company Name Advanced Laser Technology Ltd. 
Description The company design, manufacture and sell laser cladding, laser cleaning and laser based 3D metal printing systems worldwide. 
Year Established 2012 
Impact The company currently employs 19 full time staff with 12 staff having PhD degrees and every employee has a university degree. The company turnover is between £1m to £2m.
Website http://www.altlaser.co.uk
 
Description Desemination 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A pulication in Public Service Review: UK Science & Technology, Issue 2: Laser cleaning of industrial components.

More interests from potential students to study at The University of Manchester.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011