How SLS technology is being utilized for end use applications

An engine built for Honeywell featured four control vanes at the base, in their initital design the vanes were to be to be
constructed from carbon-fiber composite sheets, with peices former over mandrel and then Joined. 
In Honeywell's new design,
they are laser sintered from Nylon with hollow wall sections, cutting weight in a design feature that would be nearly impossible
using any other manufacturing process.  At this time, 80 control vanes a week are made using SLS technology.    

SLS technology for end-use applications is best suited for low volume manufacturing and high-end, complex parts.  The
technology is being accepted more and more, as manufacturers recognize it as a more economical way of doing low-volume manufacturing. 

Boeing built 372 planes, whilst this is a low number, if you consider all the interior component variations from carrier to carrier,
the build volumes shrink even further.  No other technology could have provided economical production of parts in a fast time frame.  In addition to low volumes, aircrafts are expected to have very long service lives, up to 50 years, and require spare
parts over that time frame.  A tooling supplier would be expected to maintain and store moulds for this time frame.  With SLS technology, you only need to store the CAD files, production is ready at a click of a button.    


SLS case study Honeywell control vane

Above image: Honeywell control vane components made using SLS technology.  Previously manufactured using carbon sheets,
they use to be thick, heavy components – SLS technology enables the design to be hollow and lightweight.


SLS Case Study_ Modern Plastics Worlwide

Above image:  Jim Williams, president of Paramount PDS showcases the Honeywell control vane as a great example of how
SLS technology has been adopted for end-use application.

Images and case study - Modern Plastics Worldwide, Editor Tony Deligio published 26/8/2010