Advanced Manufacturing for Submarines

Alastair Dowler with the 5 - Axis Ultrasonic and HSC Milling Machine located at The Insititute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, University of Adelaide

Alastair Dowler with the 5 – Axis Ultrasonic and HSC Milling Machine located at The Optofab Node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility at the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS), University of Adelaide

The ASC Science and Technology Program undertakes activities in the research, design, development, and evaluation of new materials, products and processes in support of ASC’s work on naval ships and submarines.

In collaboration with ASC and CSIRO, development is currently being made at IPAS (Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing) at the University of Adelaide on world-leading 3D metal super-alloy printing and advanced machining technologies.

3D metal printing follows a similar process as home 3D printing, which creates objects layer by layer using plastic powder melted by a low power system. The major differences with 3D metal printing are the use of a metal powder and increased complexity of the physical processes used to create the specimen.

Printing of metal super-alloy components is especially complex due to the necessity for precise control over the metallurgical properties; however, once a prototype has been successfully printed, the same ‘recipe’ can be used time and again. The technology has been widely publicised as a new chapter in industrial revolution.

3D metal printing can potentially create a final product with superior mechanical properties than traditionally cast components.
It is particularly appealing to manufacturing of complex components and can overcome obsolescence issues, warehousing of ‘dead’ stock, and lengthy procurement delays.

Parts with internal superstructures, such as honeycombs, can require several complex and lengthy processes to build using traditional methods; however, 3D printing allows the parts to be built layer upon layer from the base up in a fully-integrated process.

“We are working towards a future in which operators are able to print complex spare parts from drawings or from 3D models of existing parts”, said ASC Senior Development Engineer Dr Laura Brooks.

“The goal is to develop a cost-effective in-country solution which will allow us to maintain product supply chain over a 25-30 year time period even if original manufacturers close down”, ASC Principal Development Engineer Mikael Johansson added.

The ASC Science and Technology Program works across a number of different projects and business areas with the aims of building on ASC’s high end engineering skills. They assist in complex problem solving, capability development, knowledge building, and the development of a strong technical support network.

Through the Adelaide Optofab Node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) at the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) The University of Adelaide offers both metal and ceramic printing and 5-Axis Ultrasonic Milling. We work with industry partners from across Australia who can access this unique equipment via the ANFF network. “We are delighted to be working with CSIRO and ASC on this collaborative project” said Prof Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem, Associate Director of the Adelaide Node said.

See the IPAS website

See the ASC website

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Posted on December 8, 2015, in Media and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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