The ACCOMIM project goal is to demonstrate that actuator components can be manufactured by less cost intensive and more sustainable Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) process. MIM allows producing complex parts at reduced manufacturing time than traditional components made by milling and turning. Manufacturing almost net to shape allows higher complexity in one production step. MIM technology is widely used in sectors with high demanding requirements in terms of cost and quality like automotive, surgery and arms, but it is not frequently used in the aeronautic industry. Thus, it is an opportunity of competitiveness for European partners of Clean Sky.
ACCOMIM goal is to identify the small and complex components in the actual primary and secondary flight controls used in actuators that are feasible to be produced by MIM technology, being the target the component requirement. Several MIM prototypes and sample tests will be manufactured at MIM TECH ALFA industry facilities with the most adequate material and industrial process for this critical application. The high strength and quality of the prototypes and test samples is assessed by the strict quality controls and test performed both by MIM TECH ALFA quality team and IK4-AZTERLAN facilities (visual, dimensional, metallographic, fatigue, corrosion and non-destructive testing).
Design criteria, standards for materials and final controls, and control data sheet for each reference will be adapted to the characteristics of this new technology to produce actuator components for the aircraft sector, including a prospective view of industrialization, reduction on environmental impact and manufacturing cost of the components.
Final Report Summary - ACCOMIM (ACtuator COmponents made by alternative Metal Injection Moulding)
Nowadays, most small and complex metallic parts are produced by traditional and cost intensive machining operations. Furthermore, complex design shapes are manufactured by assembling different parts, which means big amount of chipping of unused material. These factors increase the cost and environmental impact of the parts, as well as the energy used for manufacturing. The alternative production of these parts by MIM (Metal Injection Moulding) can reduce costs and energy and allow a higher complexity in a single manufacturing step.
Metal Injection Moulding is a near-net-shape process, which starts with the injection of metallic powder mixed with a polymeric binder in a mould, to produce a final full metallic part by means of a complex debinding and sintering process. The result is a fully metallic part with nearly the same material strength as components made by milling and turning from metallic bars. This process is well established for manufacturing small and complex metallic parts in a wide variety of sectors (automotive, valves, locks, weaponry, surgery, etc), but not in the aerospace industry, especially for actuator components in the primary and secondary flight control systems.
The goal of the ACCOMIM project is to identify the small and complex components in the actual actuators used in the primary and secondary flight controls that can be produced by MIM technology, being the target the component requirement. Several MIM prototypes and sample tests have been manufactured using industry facilities with the most adequate material and industrial processes for this critical application. The high strength and quality of the prototypes and test samples is assessed by strict quality controls and tests (visual, dimensional, metallographic, corrosion and non-destructive testing). Design criteria, standards for materials and final controls, and control data sheet for each reference have been adapted to the characteristics of this new technology to produce actuator components for the aircraft sector, including a prospective view of industrialization, reduction on environmental impact and manufacturing cost of the components.
Thus, the main activities carried out in the project are the following:
- Analysis of the state of the art of materials which can be used as feedstock for the metal injection moulding process.
- Selection of possible materials to proof material strength values for the application and substitution of traditional metallic bar materials used in aircraft applications.
- Analysis of the feasibility to substitute flight control parts by parts made from MIM process.
- Selection of several parts (depending on part complexity) and manufacturing of a small batch by means of MIM to proof their quality for later aircraft applications.
- Cost and manufacturing analysis in comparison to standard part manufacturing.
- Tests on specimens and prototypes for the evidence of sufficient strength and quality values for a later application on aircraft parts.
The ACCOMIM consortium is composed by the following two partners:
- MIM TECH ALFA, S. L., a company specialized in the Metal Injection Moulding process, with the required expertise and competences in the MIM technology.
- IK4-AZTERLAN, a technological research centre specialized in metallurgy, which has been responsible of the testing and evaluation of the prototypes and samples.