ONERA (National Office for Aerospace Studies and Research) is a public institution attached to the Ministry of Defense, and financed half by external actors such as industrials. Its mission is to contribute to French excellence in the field of aeronautics and space, by anticipating the needs of the sector. The Office employs 2000 people in 8 departments: 3 sites in Paris region and 5 sites in the provinces.
I am a design engineer in the MC2 unit (modeling and characterization of composites) of the DMAS department (Materials and Structures Department). My role is to set up, supervise and contribute to studies done internally or with external partners, especially related to composite materials. I also supervise theses (university, internal and industrial) with 10 other supervisors for 12 doctoral students in our unit.
The DMAS department represents 125 staff, including 50 doctoral students.
This is a new subject for us. To my knowledge, colleagues from the M3S (Metal Materials Mechanics) and M3P (Metallic Materials, Microstructures and Processes) units are already using 3D metal printing (laser powder sintering) in the context of experimentation and qualification of processes and materials.
We were looking for an alternative method of manufacturing composite parts inspired by the fiber placement robots already used in this industry and appreciated for the freedom of shape and mass savings allowed by these tools. Through various events and meetings, we learned about the existence of continuous fiber 3D printing, which was of great interest to us. Through our surveys, we met various machine manufacturers including Anisoprint.
Finally, Anisoprint put us in contact with Multistation, its French partner, who took care of training us on the machine, and continues to provide us with consumables and support on the use of the printer.
We studied four options, and finally the choice of Anisoprint was done naturally. Among the manufacturers we studied, some had processes that were still incomplete, while others proposed unjustified high price. Anisoprint had a partnership approach and a technology that we found interesting.
Today, we are still developing our skills on the machine. Our aim would be to offer a better understanding of the process to SME/SMIs interested in composite construction without being able to invest tens or hundreds thousands of euros needed in the purchasing of usual equipment. The versatility of 3D printing and composite manufacturing combines together to make a tool with the ideal flexibility for these actors.
Another engineer from the department, François-Xavier Irisarri and myself are the only users of the machine for the moment. We are thinking to hire an apprentice in order to give him the mission to strengthen our skills on the machine.
This machine meets our expectations. It reaches the expected possibilities, but remains a tool for experimentation, and requires an important attention and some learning.
The Aura software is very easy to use when it comes to staying in the standard profiles predefined by the manufacturer. As soon as we go off the beaten track, it is a question of facing a parametric very, if not too free, which certainly offers a great flexibility but which still requires a lot of attention.
In short, these are tools that seem very simple to take in hand, at first glance. But real expertise is needed to get the best out of it.
Multistation and all his team remain at your full disposal to bring their expertise on Anisoprint Technology to You.
Cédric Julien – Onera / Multistation cooperation