A short description of the available technology.

Aeroswift is a collaboration project between the CSIR-National Laser Centre (NLC) and Aerosud ITC to develop a prototype titanium additive manufacturing (AM) machine tool capable of producing aircraft certifiable parts in a large envelope configuration.  Aeroswift technology is based on the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) defined powder-bed fusion (PBF) process, one of the 7 types of technologies which constitute additive manufacturing. PBF processes allow for the production of very complex parts in metal from metal powder, with very high material utilisation efficiency. 

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Market need/opportunity: 
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A number of AM processes employ an energy source in the form of a laser or electron beam to melt or cure material in a material bed in layers to ultimately form the desired part.  In powder bed fusion processes, the energy source is directed by a scanning unit, based on the geometry of a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) model, to ensure that the desired layers are formed. The material bed is supported on a build platform which is incrementally lowered as each new layer of the object is formed.  A fresh layer of material is then added to the material bed before the next layer is scanned. These powder bed fusion processes have certain limitations when compared to traditional manufacturing methods. These include challenges associated with the size of the build area and the material consolidation rate. To address these problems, the Aeroswift project has developed a portfolio of inventions. 

Value proposition/benefits: 
Brief description of the technology’s benefits.
1. Aeroswift’s large bed allows for large part manufacture, or batch processing of a large number of smaller parts, which can be of different designs. 
2. Aeroswift allows material consolidation rates (printing speed) which are faster than current commercial platforms.
3. The Aeroswift approach allows for the design of customised machine platforms that can be configured to efficiently produce a large part of a specific design, with minimal material wastage and efficient energy utilisation.
The attributes of the technology that makes it unique.

Aeroswift is the largest laser-based 3D printer of metal components. The current system allows for printing of components up to 2m long, 600mm wide and 600mm in height.

Team and expertise: 
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CSIR and Aerosud ITC

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Opportunity type: 
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Identifying South African companies with machine tool building capabilities.
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