HiETA has developed an integrated value chain approach in recognition that there are critical interdependencies across value chain elements. This is used to deliver:
In heat exchangers, for example, minimum wall thickness and minimum duct hydraulic diameter are key factors determining performance. Minimum wall thicknesses are achieved through a combination of detailed design, data handling, and specific machine parameters. Minimum duct hydraulic diameters are driven by powder removal for which local limits and global strategies have been developed. This is an on-going process as new technology become available at different points in the value chain. Recently we have started work to validate that existing or increased levels of part performance can be realised from the new generation of multi-laser Additive Manufacturing machines becoming available.
Least weight design:
Multiple steps have a bearing on design and an understanding of these interdependencies facilitate extreme lightweight design.
Each step contributes to overall piece part costs and as such reducing the time spent or avoiding costly steps (such as wire erosion of parts from the build plate) contributes to cost competitive solutions. Looking ahead, HiETA are at the forefront of implementing new, high productivity, multi-laser Additive Manufacturing systems. We are also working with partners on developing Deep Learning models to understand and optimise parameters within particular process steps for maximum productivity.
Quality assured outcomes:
Each step contributes to overall levels of product variability and as such controlling variability at each step is key to the achievement of overall quality outcomes. Looking ahead we also apply Deep Learning techniques to modelling the whole process chain with a view, in particular, to identify stable process-chain windows for maximum repeatability and reproducibility. HiETA has held, for a second year running, an ISO9001 certification. In addition to this, we implement customer-specific quality assurance schemes as required and are experienced in dealing with customer data across a range of security requirements.