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MIC and CATEC evaluate surface treatments to improve additively manufactured metal parts

The project is aimed at studying the effect of surface treatments in improving the fatigue behavior of parts manufactured by additive in titanium 6AI4V

The firm Metal Improvement Company (Curtiss Wright Surface Technologies, CWST), and the Technology Centre CATEC, both located in Aerópolis, have participated together with the University of Seville and University of Saarland (Germany) in a project to evaluate the effect of surface treatments such as Shot Peening, Laser Peening or isotropic finishing to improve the final finish (roughness) and increase fatigue life (due to the introduction of compression forces), in metallic elements manufactured using additive technology.

The results have been tremendously promising, verifying the benefits of the treatments discussed above, and that could reduce the costs of the final product.

FADA-CATEC has extensive experience and knowledge in the design, topological optimization, manufacture and inspection of parts using additive technology in different materials. As pioneers in this area, they have carried out a multitude of projects with manufacturers from different sectors that endorse them as a benchmark.

The main advantage of 3D manufacturing processes for metal parts is the possibility of geometric improvements, with the corresponding weight reductions and, consequently, better efficiency and lower cost on the final product. However, they have the disadvantage of worse fatigue behavior.

CWST, for its part, is a specialist in surface treatments, focusing on those aimed at improving fatigue behavior. Not only does it offer the ability to apply these treatments, but thanks to its more than 65 years of experience and 70 plants spread around the world, it has the experience and knowledge that allows it to prescribe the appropriate treatment for each specific case.

In the specific study, they worked with specimens of Ti64 (a material highly used in aeronautical applications) manufactured using PBLF (Powder Bed Laser Fusion). After applying the Shot Peening, Shot Peening + Isotropic Finish (C.A.S.E) and Laser Peening treatments, to different batches, fantastic results were obtained that open the door to additional studies as well as industrial applications.

Specifically, CWST, FADA-CATEC and also the University of Seville are in the evaluation and analysis phase of a possible second phase of the project, in which the tests are extended to industrial parts with a double objective: to perform topological optimization and apply the correct surface treatment so that the mechanical performance of the component is at least equal to the fatigue behavior of the alloys used in conventional manufacturing, but with the advantage of drastically reducing its weight (up to 50-60%) thanks to 3D printing.