18.1ET.03 - EVALUATION AND CONSOLIDATION OF ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING PROCESSES AND MATERIALS FOR THE MANUFACTURING OF RF HARDWARE

Publication Date: 13-APR-18


Program ref.: GSTP Element 1 Dev
Tender Type: C
Tender Status: INTENDED
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Budget Ref.: E/0904-611 - GSTP Element 1 Dev
Proc. Prop.: DIPC
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. & Quality
Department: Electrical Engineering Department
Division: Radio Frequency Systems & Payloads Offic
Responsible: De Gaudenzi, Riccardo
Products: Satellites & Probes / RF / Microwave Communication (Platform and Payloads) / Antennas - BB / Feeds Satellites & Probes / RF / Microwave Communication (Platform and Payloads) / Communication - BB(Antennas excluded) / Analog: RF front ends Satellites & Probes / RF / Microwave Communication (Platform and Payloads) / "Communication - BB (Antennas excluded)" / Digital: Filters and Multiplexers
Techology Domains: RF Systems, Payloads and Technologies / RF Technologies and Equipment / RF Equipment RF Systems, Payloads and Technologies / RF Technologies and Equipment / RF Devices Electromagnetic Technologies and Techniques / Antennas / Reflector and Lens Antennas
Industrial Policy Measure: N/A - Not apply

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is starting to be used for space applications. For future missions, many components could be manufactured using AM, also including primary structures or other mission-critical parts such as RF hardware. Final products such as feed components, beam forming networks, low and high power filters and RF harness can benefit from the advantages provided by AM. The overallmaturity of this manufacturing technique has been increased in the last years offering a great variety of materials, processes and post-processes required to achieve the final part. The major efforts were so far focused on mechanical and thermal aspects. Very promising results have been already presented based on, for example, SLM in titanium or aluminium and stereolithography for ceramics. Alongside the significant weight reduction, lead time and production cost, an important improvement for the RF performance (losses and PIM) can be potentially achieved through AM. The requirements imposed by the RF performance to AM need to be adequately consideredfor the selection of the best end-to-end AM-based process. In order to select the adequate end-to-end AM-based processes for RF hardware, the assessment and screening of materials, processes and post-processes need to be performed. This activity aims to characterise different AM processes, materials and post-processes already available in the market in order to pre-select the best candidates for RF hardware manufacturing. As a minimum, the following primary points shall be covered: - Geometrical issues: accuracy, geometrycomplexity, maximum and minimum size, roughness, etc. - Process robustness e.g. repeatability. - Electrical issues: need of coating, electrical conductivity, SEY, outgassing, loss tangent, dielectric constant - Post-processing methods The pre-screening of manufacturing techniques must show the suitability of the end-to-end process based on previous in-house heritage considering the following secondary points: Physical properties: Density, porosity, thermal conductivity. Mechanical properties: static and dynamic Environmental issues: maximum/minimum temperature range, radiation, life time. In order to perform this assessment and screening, a number of samples (RF samples and coupons) will be designed, manufactured and tested allowing the assessment of the feasibility for eachset of [materials, AM process, post-process]. The test shall comprise RF measure and inspections (destructive and non-destructive) to verify the structural characteristics. NOTE: THIS ACTIVITY IS CURRENTLY IN THE GSTP WORK PLAN BUT WILL ONLY BE IMPLEMENTED AFTERCONFIRMATION OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM DELEGATIONS. AT THAT TIME A PLANNED QUARTER FOR TENDER ISSUE WILL BE CONFIRMED AND BIDDERS WILL BE ABLE TO EXPRESS THEIR INTEREST IN THE ACTIVITY.

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