Honeywell Commissions New 3D Printing Facility for Reactive Metals (Aluminum and Titanium)

August 2, 2016 | Author: Donald Godfrey

In 2014 Honeywell opened its world class 3D printing facility in Phoenix, Arizona. Soon after that, the company opened similar but just as impressive laboratories in Brno, Czech Republic, Shanghai, China and Bangalore, India. Each of these labs have been staffed with talented engineers who spend their time making tooling for production applications, prototypes of new and creative designs and developing new technology related to component designs or performance or new material alloys.

However, because aluminum and titanium are flammable and can be dangerous if mishandled, none of the local fire departments or Honeywell Health and Safety Groups located in these four cities would allow or will not allow for these types of materials to be used in the current facilities as they are currently designed.

Requests from multiple Honeywell locations asked for components to be built using reactive materials and as a result Honeywell has opened its first 3D printing facility for reactive metals in Phoenix, Arizona.

As in any Honeywell facility, employee and environmental safety is THE top priority. Here is a list of some of the safety features associated with this new facility. An Electro-static Discharge (ESD) coating was installed on top of the concrete floor and then grounded to the building structure. This was done to prevent an employee generating static electricity in their clothing and having that electric charge dissipated if they were around powder.

To further protect the employee each person entering the facility must either wear ESD shoes or wear a strap that goes around the shoe and fastens to the person’s leg.

Blue Grounding Strap that Fits Over Safety Shoe

Blue Grounding Strap that Fits Over Safety Shoe

To insure these systems work, the employee must stand on an ESD meter to validate the shoe is grounded or the employee is grounded when walking on the floor.

Grounding Station That Each Person Must Use When Entering Printing Area

Grounding Station That Each Person Must Use When Entering Printing Area

To further protect the employees, some machines came equipped with mats that are installed in front of the machines and grounded to the machine itself and the machine is grounded to the building structure.

3D Printer with Grounded Mat

3D Printer with Grounded Mat Installed

Each piece of equipment is grounded to the building structure as well as the portable vacuums which are inspected daily and developed a process to have them cleaned weekly by an outside company.

As soon as the Phoenix Fire Department and the local Honeywell Health and Safety Organization gave authorization to occupy the building and use the equipment the orders for aluminum parts from a global Honeywell organization started pouring in. To date, the parts produced have been for defense and space applications and cannot be shown in this public disclosure.

Engineer Programming Aluminum Project

Engineer Programming Aluminum Project

Like other aerospace companies, Honeywell is learning to design for additive manufacturing. This will also include the making of unique powder chemistries. Honeywell will work with powder companies across the globe to develop new and exciting material chemistries to improve Honeywell products.

Powder Blender Used to Create Unique Powder Chemistries

Powder Blender Used to Create Unique Powder Chemistries

Honeywell is a global leader in the area of 3D printing of metals and this lab is a major milestone in the quest to bring 3D printed designs to production that will better serve the company’s customer base.

Donald Godfrey

Donald Godfrey

Donald Godfrey is an engineering fellow at Honeywell Aerospace.

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Comments

 
 
   
  • Charles Langdon

    Is SGLB inside?

    Reply
  • Dave Dischinger

    Don - another great milestone for you lab! I saw the aluminum part the lab just printed for us to use on our upcoming icing test next year at NASA looks great. Keep up the innovation. thanks Dave

    Reply