Additive manufacturing process design for complex aircraft components

Dogea, Ramona and Yan, Xiu T. and Millar, Richard (2022) Additive manufacturing process design for complex aircraft components. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 123 (11-12). pp. 4195-4211. ISSN 1433-3015 (

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: The process of metal additive manufacturing (AM) is now widely used in fabricating complex parts in today’s industry. The scope of this paper is to redesign a manufacturing process for complex aircraft components using wing ribs as example by considering embedded Internet of Things (IoT) sensory capability that can be used in an Industry 4.0 ecosystem for moving away from a condition-based preventive maintenance system to a data-driven predictive maintenance-based system. This work is based on a previous study that considered the part design stage which deals with finding the best design solution for a single part. Considering a wing rib geometry of 3-mm web thickness with 6-mm upper and lower caps, the manufacturing process is designed and assessed using the Simufact Additive™ software. The use of AM when embedding IoT sensors allows more flexibility without compromising the structural integrity of parts, as well as the advantage of design freedom and limited cost when modifying geometries. The outcomes show that the manufacturing process depends strongly on hot isostatic pressing (HIP) for the wing rib, but for the sensory covers it presented no significant improvement. The results also show that the support optimisation can lead to an important reduction of mass and volume as well as an improvement of the structural performance.