Australian digital manufacturing solutions company Titomic Limited (ASX: TTT) has unveiled the world’s largest additive manufactured Titanium part, a 5.5 meter long rocket at FormNext, the world’s premier 3D Printing trade show.
Jeff Lang, Titomic’s Managing Director, said the rocket was manufactured on the Titomic TKF 9000 system, the world’s largest and fastest metal additive manufacturing system, at the company’s Melbourne Production Bureau.
He said the TKF 9000 has a build size of 40.5 cubic meters being 9m x 3m x 1.5m, utilising patented Titomic Kinetic Fusion (TKF) technology. TKF is capable of build rates of up to 30 kilograms per hour, compared to many melt-based metal additive manufacturing machines which often print less than 1 kilogram per hour.
The 5.5m long rocket was manufactured in just 27.6 hours using the TKF9000 system and is a smaller-scale version of the Gilmour Space ERIS-S rocket that is 27mt long and which will provide customers reliable and cost- effective access to space.
Mr Lang said Titomic has the capability to build the full-scale Gilmour Space ERIS-S rocket in just 165 hours with the patented TKF additive manufacturing process utilising its economical high-performance titanium and other super alloy powders that can also be applied to ballistic missiles for defence applications.
Titanium is a highly desirable material in aerospace and defence industries for it lightweight and high strength properties however, due to its limited supply, with Russia being the major world supplier, and the difficulty of manufacturing Titanium parts using traditional methods, it has been commonly too expensive to use,” Mr Lang said.
“Today, due to these factors, many high-profile aerospace organisations such as SpaceX, are forced to use less optimal materials like stainless steel 301, a material which is twice the weight and a quarter the strength of Titanium.
“Previously, Titanium was more than twice the price of stainless steel but now with our development of new titanium powder supply chains and Australia’s significant mineral sand resources of approximately 280M tons of Titanium, Titomic is at the forefront of advancing technology to ensure the future sustainability of the earth’s resources whilst reducing carbon emissions for global manufacturing.”
“Titanium provides superior mechanical properties of higher fatigue and tensile strength, lower thermal expansion and specific heat capacity compared to stainless steel. Most importantly, Titanium also holds nearly three times the thermal shock resistance in comparison to stainless steel making it highly suitable for building rocket,” Mr Lang said.
According to Titomic, Titanium rockets made with TKF are half the weight of stainless-steel rockets made with traditional manufacturing methods which allows for the rockets to have an increased payload mass and volume capability which opens new possibilities for more economic payload deliveries to space
“TKF allows very large seamless shapes to be produced, highlighting the advances of additive manufacturing not only being improvements in productivity and affordability, but also surpass traditional manufacturing methods,” Mr Lang said.