Manufacturing News of Note: March 2019

Orbex contains largest single-piece rocket engine to be made with additive manufacturing, Absolute Machine Tools is owned by the employees, and other industry news. 

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Orbex, a U.K.-based spaceflight company, has introduced what is being called the world’s largest metal rocket engine to be 3D printed in a single piece using the SLM Solutions SLM800.

Orbex develops small satellite launch vehicles, and the 3D-printed engine part was produced specifically for Prime, a supposedly environmentally friendly rocket. The launcher uses only 100-percent renewable fuel to cut carbon emissions by 90 percent. A zero-shock staging and payload separation eliminates orbital debris. The launcher was design-optimized for selective laser melting, an additive manufacturing (AM) process, producing a structure 30 percent lighter and 20 percent more efficient than other launch vehicles in its category. Orbex aerospace engineers partnered closely with the applications engineering team at SLM Solutions headquarters in Lübeck, Germany, to ensure success transferring the design into selective laser melting production—a feat that required the partnership of the equipment provider due to the complexity and size of the component. Read More.

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