Additive manufactured aerospace components are lighter in weight, increasing fuel economy and reducing emissions without sacrificing strength. They also exponentially reduce manufacturing lead times and material waste. However, many of the attractive characteristics of this emerging technology also present difficulties in the cleaning and verification of the parts to strict industry specifications.
PTI is the premier additive partner for both prototype and production level parts. From powder evacuation and ultrasonic cleaning of components with complex geometry, to flush and pressure test of components with intricate passageways, our team has worked to the most stringent aerospace standards and pride ourselves on our advanced methods. Many of which are the first of their kind.
Ask us about our collaborative preliminary design reviews!
Before Powder Evacuation…
& Downskin Removal…….
….After Powder Evacuation
……..& Downskin Removal
Trapped Powder Evacuation
During the additive manufacturing process, powder accumulation is an unavoidable obstacle. Removal of this powder and any residual powder left generated during the building process is the first step to cleaning. We use a combination of pneumatic tools to reach powder in the most complex of cavities and tubes.
Aerated Flushing is ideal for parts that require cleaning of passageways and cavities. The aerated process cycles air and solvent through passageways on a periodic cycle, this causes powder or loose particles to break free and evacuate the part. The aerated flushing process changes conventional flushing’s laminar flow causing extreme fluid turbulence. Aeration provides a more aggressive approach to complex geometries seen in additive heat exchanges.
Turbulent Flushing is ideal for parts that require cleaning of cored passages and galleries. During Turbulent Flushing, parts are connected by hoses to a re-circulating pumping system. This pumping system is capable of square wave pulsing and is coupled to a filtered solvent tank. The cleaning action of the pulsed square wave pumps can be enhanced by securing the part to a mechanical shaker table to ensure optimal cleanliness during the Turbulent Flushing process.
Ultrasonic Cleaning is achieved using transducers in or attached to the bottom of a tank to emit and radiate sound waves through the cleaning solution. These sound waves cause millions of microscopic bubbles to form and grow. This process is called cavitation. These Ultrasonic Cleaning bubbles then collapse or “implode” releasing enormous amounts of energy. These implosions work in all directions to ultrasonically clean and remove contamination from the work piece.
During Ultrasonic Degreasing, a heat source raises the liquid solvent in a tank to its boiling point. When the solvent boils, it produces hot vapors. The part is introduced to the vapor and the vapor condenses on the part’s surface. The condensed vapors then dissolve the greases and oils on the part and flush them away.
Pressure testing additive components creates new challenges not typically seen on conventionally manufactured parts. Rough surface finishes, unmachined surfaces, and intricate geometries all play a large role in engineering tooling design. PTI offers in house tool manufacturing with the ability to test parts with nitrogen, compressed air and de-ionized water. PTI’s experienced employees’ focus closely on each part to ensure that they pass our customers stringent specifications.
Internal Passageway Abrasion & Downskin Removal
During the additive manufacturing build process, a downskin condition occurs and creates a semi adhered particles. PTI’s abrasion methods can prevent liberation of semi adhered particles from entering the part during service. Abrasion is more effective when accompanied by one of PTI’s robust cleaning processes.
PTI also provides certified Cleanliness Testing for Solid Particles and Non-Volatile Residue, to assure that your parts will meet all of your cleanliness standards, using Computer based Microscopes, Computer based Micro Balances, Articulating Borescopes with Photographic Capability, and Water Conductivity.