The company toolcraft from Georgensgmünd in Middle Franconia in Germany manufactures high-end precision parts, components and assemblies for different high-tech industries. Here, the family company considers itself as a pioneer for new, innovative production technologies such as additive manufacturing and customised turnkey robot solutions. Together with partners from industry as well as research institutes and universities, toolcraft aims to develop complete solutions that are pioneering in their field. A crucial area is the aviation and aerospace industry, for which the company regularly undergoes certification processes.
Challenges In order to be allowed to manufacture components for the aviation and aerospace industry, the entire production environment of manufacturing companies has to undergo comprehensive certification. At the centre of this is Nadcap (National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program), a unique association of companies from the aviation and aerospace industry. Together, they aim to ensure a uniformly high level of quality within the sector and to implement special production processes in as cost efficient a manner as possible. toolcraft was one of the first European companies that decided to go through the difficult Nadcap certification for 3D printing with metals, in order to give themselves a competitive edge against their competitors in the industry. Successful certification involves documenting and ensuring transparency over the numerous process steps which take place before, during and after the LMF process with the 3D printer. Complete verification of the powder used is just as much part of this process as inspecting the component quality through optical and tactile measurement and non-destructive surface testing. Special attention is also paid to the LMF process. In addition to monitoring of oxygen levels and air humidity in the process chamber, it must, for example, be verifiable that the laser power and shape of the laser beam within the TruPrint 3000 3D printer used are coordinated in such a way that every part produced in it is exposed in precisely the same way.