Conflux Obtains AS9100D Aerospace Certification for 3D Printed Heat Exchangers –

Conflux Technology is one of the few companies focusing directly on the potentially lucrative application of additive manufacturing (AM) of 3D printed heat exchangers. The Australian startup is now in an even better position to push this application forward, as it has achieved the AS9100D certification standard. This means its heat exchangers are one step closer to aerospace use.

3D printing heat exchangers

Launched from the world of F1 racing in 2015, Conflux saw heat exchangers as a key application area for AM technology. By 2017, he had released his first design and quickly hired crucial industry backers. This included AM Ventures, which participated in a $6 million Series A funding round. It is already developing new designs of heat exchangers, including a charge air-cooled variety. It has also partnered with GKN Additive to expand the availability of its products.

A water charge air cooler heat exchanger from Conflux Technology. Image courtesy of Conflux Technology.

Arno Held, Managing Partner of AM Ventures, described the benefits of 3D printing heat exchangers: “Heat exchangers are one of the biggest applications of 3D printing. Highly complex geometries that enable more efficient thermal management to reduce energy consumption and material waste require highly skilled experts who can master the best manufacturing technologies and software tools. This is exactly what makes the Conflux team unique in this world.

Take off in aerospace

As it seeks to commercialize its technology, Conflux is aiming for the skies. Aerospace companies, in particular, are looking for ways to optimize efficiency, thereby reducing their dependence on jet fuel, which is increasingly scarce and whose price is volatile. For this reason, the AS9100D is the key. An international quality management system standard for aerospace, space and defence, certification is even more substantial than ISO9001:2015 and is overseen by International Aerospace Quality Group, a certification program led by several major aerospace masters.

A Conflux heat exchanger

The audit process, which takes place over six months, is carried out by Andrew Milner, who previously certified several aerospace/defense companies before joining Conflux as a business analyst and quality assurance expert. Milner said of the latest achievement: “This marks a significant milestone in our quality assurance strategy and will demonstrate the organization’s commitment to delivering the highest standards of quality and technical excellence to our customers. “

After completing the first stage of its certification, Conflux expects to finalize the process by early 2023. In doing so, several other companies are beginning to focus on application-specific opportunities for 3D printing. Holo, for example, is dedicated to 3D printed copper heatsinks. Additive Drives, another AM Ventures portfolio company, is targeting electric motors. Tackle one domain allows these companies to perfect a given use case which can then be applied to entire industries in important ways. Once they prove crucial to their customers, one can imagine a wave of consolidation occurring, where they are acquired piecemeal by various entities or bought all at once to create a powerful conglomerate.

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