Additive manufacturing for maintenance, repair and operations within the aerospace industry at GKN

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Jakob, Mariane
Qorri, Teuta
The aerospace industry is known to manufacture expensive components, which are critical to safety and exposed to wear. This has led to an increased need for a circular business model, which has become attractive in several manufacturing organisations, where repair and maintenance of components is offered. As the aerospace industry is product-oriented, Additive Manufacturing (AM) in repair is considered to be an optimal manufacturing method to eliminate waste and achieve a more sustainable organisation. Guest Keen and Nettlefolds (GKN) Aerospace is constantly working on their sustainable development and has today come a long way, however, the road has not been easy. The research study is based on three research questions where the current state of AM repair is analysed at the company. The challenges related to the implementation of AM repair are then investigated and alternative solutions and opportunities for overcoming these are suggested. Finally, relevant cost parameters are identified in order to present a product cost guideline for AM repair. The thesis answers these research questions through four primary research methods. A qualitative study in the shape of a pre-study at the company and an interview study with employees. A literature study where the identification of alternative solutions and opportunities was discovered. A benchmark study with two external actors within the AM field and finally, a case study on different cost models for AM repair. The current state analysis showed that GKN is in the early development phase with the implementation of AM repair. The implementation of AM with specific materials, component-geometries, and -sizes for repairs is still being evaluated. The challenges related to the implementation of AM repair, identified at GKN, are in the areas of Strategy, Communication, Qualification and Verification, Experience, AM Competence, AM Equipment, Material aspects, and Cost. To overcome these challenges, alternative solutions and opportunities are proposed in the areas of Organisational structure, Interdepartmental collaboration, Internal organisational communication, Design Methodologies, Inspection, and Analysis as well as Application and Standards. Finally, the results of the case study showed that Pre-processing, Set-up, AM-build, Removal & Cleanup, Post-processing as well as Inspection and Testing are relevant areas to consider when designing a product cost guideline for AM repairs.
Additive manufacturing, Aerospace, Cost, Maintenance, Repair and Sustainability
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