Metal Parts

Subtractive Manufactured Parts

Classical machining (milling, turning, drilling) of parts, also known as subtractive manufacturing, remains one of the most frequent solutions. Technologies are well established since decades and resulting material properties well known. Due to the large amount of available manufacturers, they usually present a cost effective solution.

Space Structures specialises in high performance solutions using:

  • High strength aluminium
  • Titanium
  • Special alloys

A matter of course is to consider appropriately:

  • Heat treatment, e.g. for stress relief, annealing and tempering
  • Surface finishing like plating, anodising, chemical conversion, optical or thermal coating

Space Structures has successfully optimised the mass and/or functionality of existing machined parts, without changing architecture, manufacturing technology or impacting other system performance aspects, for many projects.

Let us also help you to get the optimum performance!

Metal parts for space applications

Additive Manufactured Parts

Additive manufactured parts, also known as ALM (additive layer manufacturing) and 3D printing, have the tremendous potential to radically improve performance characteristics of any part. Even more interesting are the possibilities to integrate additional functions into parts, that are not possible with classical subtractive manufacturing technologies.

Space Structures unleashes this potential! We are well familiar with the different AM technologies for metal as well as plastic parts, in particular:

  • SLS/SLM and DMLS/DMLM (Selective Laser Sintering/Melting, Direct Metal Laser Sintering/Melting) for aluminium and stainless steel parts
  • EBM (Electron Beam Melting) for titanium parts

Based on these technologies we design:

  • Topology optimised lightweight structures
  • High vibration damping structures
  • Structures with integrated functions (e.g. thermal)
  • Cost-reduction lightweight structures

A strong emphasis is put on design for manufacturing. It does not make sense to try and 3D print, without any changes, a previously machined part. Such part has to be re-designed taking into account the boundary conditions and possibilities of the AM technologies.

In addition, surface post-processing is a very important aspect, as the surfaces on AM parts typically have a high roughness. Space Structures uses different post-machining and polishing processes to give your part the required surface quality. Additional surface coatings, e.g. for thermal or optical reasons, are also available.

High Vibration Damping Parts

Vibration environment is an extreme challenge. With increasing requirements, heritage designs are not appropriate any more and architectures of complete systems have to be changed to acknowledge this fact.

At Space Structures we developed, under ESA contract, a solution that gives significantly increased vibration damping on part level compared to CNC milled metal parts - in principle without changing the external dimensions.

Based on this technology, typical structure parts like:

  • Frames for PCBs
  • Reaction wheel brackets
  • Payload supports, Bipods, Hexapods

can be easily "upgraded" to reduce significantly the vibration loads for the mounted equipment.

Topology optimised metal parts.

High vibration damping PCB frame vs classical CNC milled frame of same geometry