Because it involves no tooling and little machining or fixturing, EOS’ laser-sintering technology is said to be a cost-effective and fast alternative for the low production runs of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry. EOS AlSi10Mg Aluminum can be used to create lighter-weight, thin-walled parts. The company’s NickelAlloy IN718 and IN625 are designed to provide high tensile strength and uniform corrosion resistance. A variety of polyamide 11 and 12 materials also are available in plastics, as well as fire-retardant polyamide PA 2210 FR and PEEK HP3, a high-performance thermoplastic polymer.
Laser sintering also enables inexpensive re-designs of parts for changing missions and payloads, including mass customization for individual UAVs, the company says. Because it is an additive manufacturing technology, it can be used to create complex geometries that integrate multiple parts for weight savings or that fit into the irregular space left in existing assemblies. Designs being laser-sintered for UAVs include fuel tanks, engine shrouds, control vanes, filter boxes and air ducting.