Additive Manufacturing for Lightweight, Low Cost Seeker Gimbals
Small Business Information
2380 Shasta Ave, Suite B, Simi Valley, CA, 93065
AbstractLightweight gimbal assemblies capable of meeting both thermal and structural requirements in military aviation environments can be accomplished through the use of titanium alloys. However, to achieve a production unit cost not to exceed $600-$1200 per gimbal assembly for a seeker gimbal assembly based on expectations for 20,000 to 30,000 gimbals is very challenging. CalRAM, Inc, a company established to do additive manufacturing, has been developing a near-net shape fabrication process capable of generating titanium components with physical and mechanical properties comparable to wrought titanium. The "tool-less" process called Electron Beam Melting (EBM) manufacturing produces parts directly from CAD files, uses an electron beam as the energy source and melts titanium powder in a heated powder bed. Since the process builds parts one-layer at a time, several details can be integrated into each layer reducing part count. CalRAM's vision to accomplish the high-volume and low-cost targets will be to create a dedicated manufacturing cell based on EBM fabrication coupled with CNC machining, inspection, cleaning and packaging. The goal of Phase I is to develop a recommendation for the leading approach to produce gimbal assemblies for Phase II.
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