Space solutions

Complex components for rocket engines

  • New companies, technologies and materials are entering the market, making space travel cheaper and more sustainable than ever before 
  • Rockets become more sustainable thanks, among other things, to the reusability of booster stages
  • The digitalised world of today is connected more than ever before, including autonomous driving or fast internet everywhere
  • This has led to increasing numbers of satellites in orbit: by 2030, it is estimated that more than 30,000 satellites are expected to be in orbit

We support you with long-standing experience from decades!​

With our 20 years legacy in production for rocket propulsion,  we are a reliable partner in the development of new engines. We offer serial production of large additive manufactured components such as combustion chambers, with extremely complex geometries in proven NADCAP quality levels.

Ariane Group and GF Casting Solutions

For about 20 years, GF Casting Solutions has been supplying the Ariane Group, among others, with highly complex casting solutions.

  • More than 25 different GF components per launch have already traveled into space.
  • They can be found in the Vulcain 2 and Vinci engines, which were successfully tested and qualified in 2018 and 2019. 
  • The last launch of the Ariane 5 rocket took place in December 2021, carrying the James Webb Space Telescope into space from the Guiana Space Center. 
  • The GF components can be found in the new generation of Ariane (Ariane 6) as well.

Setting new trends for the space industry with large additive solutions like combustion chambers

GF Casting Solutions space demonstrator dimensions
Material

Inconel 718

Density

8.2 g/cm³

Weight

20 kg

Volume

2'576 cm³

Dimensions

365 x 420 x 425 mm

Printing time

145 hours

Additive manufacturing with GF

GF Casting Solutions produces components for the space industry.

New challenges need revolutionizing ideas and new technologies 

We are ready to realize your 3D-printing challenge!

We offer the full additive manufacturing process as well as certified post processing in-house: including surface treatment, heat treatment and non-destructive testing. 

In the following, we describe our key features and technologies behind optimized space solutions like the 3D-printed GF combustion chamber.

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In-house development and validation expertise
Our central R&D team can set up and optimize your solution - for additive manufacturing as well as for casting processes.
  • Characterization of material properties ​

  • Support and consulting in the product development process ​

  • Additive Manufacturing oriented and compliant designs ​

  • Integration of additional functions and neighbour parts​

  • Topology optimization and FEM simulation ​

  • Static and dynamic validation of components also under thermal boundary conditions​

  • Leakage testing ​

  • Metallurgical analysis of components

High design freedom
Complex and extreme shapes from thick to hollow and thin-walled in one part.
  • Better design possibilities even compared to casting
  • Extreme shapes including hollow structures and very thin walls
  • Very complex shapes from thick to thin in one part
  • Topological optimization: Reducing weight and material
High functional integration
With product development and process expertise, we can integrate multiple single parts into one design.
  • Integrating different parts into single parts into one design
  • Reduction of welding for joint activities and process steps, e.g. tooling or machining processes
Optimized part cooling
Additive manufacturing enables functions such as optimized cooling and can be applied exactly where it is needed.
  • Conformal cooling channels in near-netshape design
  • Optimized rooling rips
  • Old design needed many different manufacturing processes: additive design reduces the number of steps drastically
  • Cost advantage: not only within the geometry and performance of the application but cost savings through the simplification of the supply chain
High freedom in surface geometry & design
Maximal design freedom thanks to additive manufacturing.
  • Surface enlargement to achieve improved cooling of the component
  • Rip structure to reinforce the component
  • Flow optimization on the surface
    • Impact on air- or liquid flow
  • Cost-neutral feature
Bionic design
Bionic design means shaping the structure of a component based on the model of nature.
  • Shaping the structure based on the model of nature
  • High strength components with reduced material and weight
  • Sustainable and cost efficient
Material properties
The tensile strength of additive manufacturing material is higher and the microstructure is finer than casting.
  • Density: almost no inner porosities (in AM evenly >99.5)

  • Depending on material and scope, AM can avoid HIP-treatment (cost intensive process step) ​

  • Microstructure is finer than cast ones: the tensile strength of AM material is higher​

  • High repeatability in Additive Manufacturing 

Consulting & development services

We team up with you! We offer full R&D Service, including material, process and design development; and excellent project management. We consult and support during the set-up of specifications.

Cost-efficient all-in-one solution

We offer all post-processes in-house (HT, ST, non-destructive testing) and combine more than 20 years experience in casting parts for rocket propulsion with high-end additive maufacturing technology. Our transparent and reliable services and cost structures allow you to fully focus on the race to space.

We accelerare your time-to-market

Need to speed up your manufacturing processes? Benefit from fast turnaround time and a single point of contact: From the concept to the serial production. Our processes are independent from third parties: All processes from development to finishing take place under one roof.

Big parts or high quantity

Part size or quantity - We think big! In our 500 x 500 x 500 mm printing space, big and heavy parts are possible as well as small parts in big volumes (part quantity in one print job).

Best choice of technology

Finding the best solution! We make objective & reliable technical decisions regarding manufacturing technology (additive manufacturing vs. casting) and have experience in customer applications, processes and production costs. Both technologies and all post-processing steps happen under one roof.

Fully certified value chain

Quality you can rely on! Our complete additive manufacturing and follow-up processes are certified according to EN 9100 and Nadcap. Our trained and experienced teams take care of handling critical and complex parts requiring the higest standards.

Additive manufacturing process steps

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Print job preparation

With state-of-the-art tools and proven expertise, our additive manufacturing team takes care of the print job preparation to make sure that the process can run properly. 

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Preparing the printer

We provide the printer with the right powder, clean the optic lenses and take care of the machine calibration.

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Print job

The laser is directly melting the component layer by layer. The remaining powder can be reused after a dedicated sieving process.

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Depowdering (automated)

Once the print job is completed, powder and component are separated automatically and individually. 

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Cutting (Wire EDM)

Wire EDM technology enables to achieve extreme accuracy.

Post processes

Our post processing capabilities

  • Vacuum & cryogenic heat treatment
  • NDT inspection 
    (including analog & digital RX, FPI, 3D measurement, CMM, bluelight scanner measurements system, and electronic gauges)
  • Welding
  • Airflow test
  • Installation for chemical etching
  • Surface superfinishing processes
  • Finishing and polishing (more than 50 years of experience)
  • HIP**
  • Computer tomography**
  • Machining for semi-finished and finished components**

** not in-house

A GF colleague from Novazzano controlling a big machine in post processing.

Find the right technology for your project

Additive manufacturing or precision casting? 

The choice for the perfect technology depends on the specific project requirements and needs. GF brings long-standing experience with similar component families from the casting process which is now built upon when offering additive solutions: of course at the same high quality level.

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Concept

To start with a concept, we always take a look at cost efficiency, a component's lifetime, number of parts, geometry and part size.

Casting technology

Depending on your project, precision casting might be the right choice. 

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Additive manufacturing

Benefit from breathtaking speed and flexibility of the additive manufacturing process. With an expert team and certification, we develop and support your 3D-printing project.

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Post-Processes

All of our post-processing capabilities are Nadcap certified, including heat treatment, NDT inspection, welding, or airflow tests.

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Solution

What matters most is the accuracy of your solution and the fit to your needs. GF is your partner for casting and additive manufacturing and helps you decide on the right technology. 

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Your Contact

AS_Contact_Marco Salvisberg.jpg

Marco Salvisberg

Business Development Manager

GF Additive Novazzano SA

Via Gaggiolo 27

6855 Stabio

Switzerland

Relevant topics

Precision casting

Precision casting

Industrial manufacturing technology based on the so called lost-wax process used in the aerospace and energy industry to produce turbine blades and structural parts with complex shapes and cooling systems.