3D Systems – First airworthy metal printed RF filter, ready for take-off

The last two years (2015 and 2016) could be looked upon as the tipping point for direct metal printing (DMP) within the aerospace industry, as the technology increasingly made the jump beyond prototyping to production parts and assemblies ready for flight. During that time frame, Airbus Defence and Space worked with 3D Systems to achieve a major breakthrough: The first 3D printed radio frequency (RF) filter tested and validated for use in commercial telecommunications satellites. The project built upon research funded by the European Space Agency (A0/1-6776/11/NL/GLC: Modelling and Design of Optimised Waveguide Components Utilising 3D Manufacturing Techniques).

CHALLENGE: Increase performance, production efficiency and customization capabilities for RF filters used in telecommunications satellites.

SOLUTION: A 3D Systems ProX DMP 320 printer with proven processes and LaserForm AlSi10Mg (A) material enable new part designs that pass the most rigorous testing by Airbus Defence and Space.

RESULTS:

  • A new design enabled by 3D printing that consolidates two parts into one and reduces overall mass.
  • Faster production time and lower costs.
  • A 50% weight reduction.
  • Material quality and proven processes produce a qualified design that improves RF performance.

The full press release can be found here.