Development of a design cycle for an additively manufactured aircraft rudder bracket
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For traditional manufacturing processes, the variation of component quality and mechanical properties exists but these can be minimised by the implementation of process controls. Hence, it becomes key to define the full process for developing and manufacturing components. These processes have been developed and successfully implemented for many years in the aerospace industry and can subsequently be manipulated and shaped to accommodate AM. Given the close link between process conditions and the development of material structures and quality during the AM build, it becomes crucial to define a process that will ensure acceptance of AM components for aerospace. The purpose of this study was to develop a robust process to design, manufacture and ensure specific quality attributes when manufacturing a component with AM for the aerospace industry. The main objectives of this study were to undertake a literature review identifying the importance of the development of AM in aerospace and the process for the qualification thereof. Given the novelty of the technology, each phase of the possible design cycle and the AM process were investigated individually to develop the process. Another objective was to execute a case study that illustrated the design cycle's capabilities and process validation. Further, to develop competence and integrate the design cycle into an aerospace company's current design capabilities. Process documentation for each phase of the design cycle was developed to ensure the integration into a company's design capabilities for AM. Through in-depth investigation and development of the design cycle process, the study's objectives were achieved, as each of the phases of the design cycle was identified, developed, and tested using the boundaries set out by the case study. These results substantiate that the design cycle process was effective. Thus, the validation of the design cycle was completed as it produced certifiable components by conforming to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirements and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. However, this is possible after the correct procedures and specifications have been implemented to manufacture consistent components, and the process has been proven by the said OEM. Thus, the study was successfully concluded.
- Engineering