Graphite Additive Manufacturing were thrilled when Yuneec approached them to design a cost-effective bumper system for an UAV. The concept was for the UAV to allow untrained pilots the ability to survey machinery without the risk of damaging the machinery.

The system had to be light-weight, easy to assemble, capable of operating in a variety of environmental conditions and not impede the UAV’s performance.

‘The key to developing a product to fit Yuneec’s needs was communication and regular review meetings to fine tune and amend designs. Graphite were able to speed up the route to market helping Yuneec launch the Bumper protector to great acclaim, at the UAV Show at the NEC in November 2018’s’, Jonathan Warbrick, the Business Development Manager at Graphite AM.

As the parts needed to be strong, robust and were likely to take a few knocks and bangs, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) was deemed to be the right technology to help bring this product to market. SLS parts are built to last and the freedom of design that this technology offers, allowed us to design a bumper system that was cost-effective to produce and performed perfectly. By using a filled SLS Nylon with enhanced mechanical properties i.e. Graphite filled SLS Nylon the material was strong enough to house some light weight carbon tubes to protect the rotor blades. Graphite were then able to refine the design to take advantage of the manufacturing process. Several designs were discussed and prototypes built. Yuneec and Graphite met regularly to fine tune the designs and produce various iterations. The result was an ergonomic design that worked beautifully.

With the advancements in Additive Manufacturing, low to mid volume productions runs can be highly cost-effective as there is no need to commit to tooling and patterns. Yuneec are now able to ‘print on-demand’ saving the need to keep banks of stock on the shelves. Graphite is the ideal partner to help take a product from conception to production.

The feedback received has been fabulous with the Yuneec team delighted with the first trials of their new bumper system and the product being well received by the market and generating a huge amount of publicity. With more products being worked on watch this space to see what is next for this unique partnership!

For any technical enquires please call on 01296 482673