Hexcel’s HexPEKK EM Offers Electromagnetic Shielding, Radar Absorption
Composite components are flight-ready after printing, omitting the need for costly and time-consuming secondary processing steps.
Edited by AM Staff
HexPEKK EM composite components are flight-ready after printing, omitting the need for costly, time-consuming secondary processing steps.
Hexcel’s HexPEKK EM is an electrically conductive, high-performance, PEKK-based thermoplastic carbon fiber composite additive manufacturing (AM) material that integrates advanced electromagnetic (EM) performance within complex 3D-printed components for the commercial aerospace, defense and military sectors.
The company says that HexPEKK EM composite components are flight-ready after printing. Formulated specifically to meet the static electricity management, electromagnetic shielding and radiation absorption requirements of advanced aircraft applications, the PEKK carbon-fiber-blended material delivers unique electrical performance. Manufactured using the aerospace industry-qualified HexAM process, HexPEKK EM components are said to exhibit best-in-class environmental, operational temperature and chemical-resistant performance attainable in the aerospace industry.
By integrating this enhanced EM performance into AM components, HexPEKK EM parts do not require costly and time-consuming secondary processing steps, such as the application of conductive coating for the management of electromagnetic interference or radiation absorption. Target applications for HexPEKK EM cover a broad range of products, including exterior surfaces, leading edges, air inlets, electronic enclosures and cockpit structures for commercial airplanes, military aircraft, helicopters and UAV components.
A research project conducted by Autodesk reduced the weight of an airplane seat frame using 3D-printed patterns and investment casting in magnesium.
According to engineers with GE Aviation, the challenges of additive metal manufacturing—serious as they are—are small compared to the promise that this technology holds. How else can you make a plane engine 1,000 pounds lighter?
Lincoln Electric Additive Solutions’ robotic metal 3D printing process is a choreographed dance between welding, robots, automation, heat management and machining. The new venture may have a distinct advantage in the field: its parent company’s 125 year-old legacy.