TCT AWARDS WINNER 2018

PROJECT MELT

Manufacturing of Experimental Layer Technology (MELT) project’s goal was to design, develop and test a fully functional ALM (Additive Layer Manufacturing) breadboard model (3D printer), able to work under the ISS’s (International Space Station) microgravity conditions and 3D print with engineering polymers with high end mechanical and thermal properties.

Since early 2016, the consortium formed by 4 european companies,

SONACA Space GmbHBEEVERYCREATIVEOHB-System AG and Active Space Technologies,

has been working on this ESA’s challenging project, and after successfully proving its performance and functionality, the new 3D printer has been delivered to

The impact of this innovation in space exploration

The impact of this innovation in space exploration
Is the ability to manufacture necessary structures, spares, in situ and on demand reducing the cost, volume, and up-mass constraints that could forbid launching everything needed for long-duration or long distance missions from Earth.
ESA - Project MELT

Additive Layer Manufacturing breadboard

Additive Layer Manufacturing breadboard
This machine was designed according to very demanding ESA requirements. It was built using space grade certified materials and with the exact weight and size to fit inside the ISS. 

3D printing filaments

3D printing filaments
Engineering polymers with high end mechanical and thermal properties such as PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone) and others. These 3D printed parts in high performance polymers with lower density than metal can replace metal parts in many applications inside the Station.
ESA - Project MELT

MELT:

Manufacturing of

Experimental

Layer

Technology

About the Consortium

3D Printing Advantages in Space

Allows

Allows

750

on-demand parts manufacturing

Reduces

Reduces

750

waste generation during manufacturing

Offers

Offers

750

capability to optimize geometries

Creates

Creates

750

designs tailored to the environmental constraints
ESA - Project MELT
in Space Exploration

Value of High-Performance Polymers

Value of High-Performance Polymers
High mechanical properties allow them to be used as replacements for metal in many applications (for example, secondary structures, etc.)
Lower density, compared to metal – the added value per unit of mass is higher.
Their functionality can be modified by doping them with particles with specific properties (e.g., conductive, antimicrobial).
Resistance to radiation: can be used in the open-space environment over a long period of time.
Can be recycled or downcycled.