Additive Manufacturing (AM) has the potential to remove boundaries that traditional manufacturing processes impose on engineering design work where space industry plays a crucial role for pushing product development and technology to its edge. Many spacecraft parts with structural requirement are susceptible to evolution from traditional to additive manufacturing processes, and the umbilical connector support is a clear example. This supports are needed for the harness connection between satellite and launcher. The requirements of these parts are the interface points coordinated with payload, high stiffness to avoid launcher frequencies and to support the separation forces.
Due the lack of established qualification procedures for AM parts, the aim of this paper is to describe the end to end process for the definition, manufacturing, inspection and qualification of the part described here, under ESA rules for quality issues. The BioBAM (Bio-Inspired Bracket in AM) has been manufactured in Scalmalloy® in SLM, with the support that a fully testing campaign has been carried out under static and dynamic loads. For quality assurance purposes coupons for tensile testing, density and powder control are included and different NDT methods like X-Ray- digital radiography and computed tomography have been applied.
Topology optimization of this part gives a mass saving opportunity larger than 60%. In the case of study, several optimization loops have been done to optimize not only the part itself, but also the manufacturing: supporting structure during manufacturing and avoid post milling operations. As it is a stiffness driven part, the strength is not critical, guaranteeing a high margin of safety.
This new development has been realized between Airbus D&S Spain, CATEC and CITD, with the aim of pushing this new technology to industrial applications: A new product for adaptors umbilical connectors.