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Additive Manufacturing Powder Material Supply Chain: Verification and Validation

Programme Reference
Prime Contractor
Start Date
End Date
United Kingdom
Additive Manufacturing Powder Material Supply Chain: Verification and Validation
Validate the procurement of raw material powder used in Additive Manufacturing technology for space: consolidate the list of requirements, establish verification methodology and validate supply chain for European Space Industry.
One of the main challenges in Additive manufacturing is to master all the steps ensuring that the final product is of sufficient quality to be used in a space mission. The first element to take into consideration is the raw material, normally a powder, that will be processed until obtaining a high end part. In this activity, an iterative approach will be used to unambiguously identify the main requirements for metallic powder procurement. This activity will target one of the priority materials identified in the roadmap (i.e. Titanium, Aluminium, Inconel and Invar), but further materials can be proposed.
The activity will consist of the following tasks:
  • Task 1: A generic space product will be designed that
    • benefits from the specific material to be validated
    • has dimensions compatible with the AM machines used to process the powder and
    • includes challenging features for processing using those machines.
  • Task 2: After a survey of the European landscape for 3D printing metallic raw material, several batches of powder will be distributed to institutes/companies having in-depth expertise in powder characterisation for benchmarking their powder characterisation methodology. The outcome of the benchmark will be cross-verified.
  • Task 3: The European expertise on 3D printing of the specific metal will then be reviewed and the different batches of powder will be processed by selected service providers, i.e. using different machines and different set-up. Test specimens and generic designed product (Task 0) will be manufactured. The produced specimens will be independently tested by the Contractor prior and after post treatments (HIP, tempering etc.). The generic designed product will also be evaluated.
  • Task 4: Based on the outcome of Tasks 1 and 2, a powder procurement specification guideline will be prepared and new batches metallic powders will be procured accordingly. Their characteristics will be determined by few institutes/companies, among the ones selected within Task 1 (based on the work they produced within Task 1) and independently characterised as well by the Contractor. The powder batches will be dispatched to some of the service providers based on the work they produced within Task 2. Samples and generic designed products will be produced and tested.
  • Task 5: Based on the outcome of the previous tasks, the Contractor will issue a list of recommendations for metallic powder procurement and verifications to be performed to validate the suitability of the powder for being used for making space hardware using Additive manufacturing technology.
Application Domain
Generic Technologies
Technology Domain
24 - Materials and Manufacturing Processes
25 - Quality, Dependability and Safety
Competence Domain
2-Structures, Mechanisms, Materials, Thermal
38-Advanced Manufacturing
Initial TRL
Target TRL
Achieved TRL
Public Document
Executive Summary
Executive Summary
Final Presentation