The aerospace industry is increasingly turning to 3D printing as a new approach in the designing and manufacturing of components, and one of them is the French Space Agency (CNES) spin-out, ANYWAVES.
Over an 18-month period working with 3DCeram‘s 3D-Aim consultancy service, ANYWAVES developed the GNSS L1/E1 Band Antenna using Zirconia material that had a lattice structure to achieve the ‘best radiofrequency performances.’
There were 3 steps to this which started with risk analysis in ascertaining the technical and economical requirements of the antenna, as well as the chances of failure by analyzing the CAD file from ANYWAVES. Several benchmark parts with a range of complex lattice structures were printed to best understand the best way of manufacturing the final part.
The next stage focused on the modification of the CAD file design to better enhance mechanical tolerances, material quality control, as well as additional factors. Design proposals were then produced that explored part orientation, part tolerances, and so on, and had to also be optimized for the SLA process.
The end result resulted in a nicely designed compact antenna that exhibited excellent radiofrequency performance and radiation characteristics to withstand harsh environments without thermal protection. Iterations of the design were printed and firing tests were carried out to ‘mature’ the design before the CAD was declared ready for serial production.
As ANYWAVES prep for serial production, the only decision remaining is whether to continue to utilize 3DCeram’s AM services or bring the technology in-house by acquiring the ceramic 3D printer.