Superplastic Forming and Diffusion Bonding: Current Cost, Value and Future Trends
Superplastic Forming and Diffusion Bonding (SPF/DB) have provided some of the lightest, strongest, corrosion resistant, elegant and complex structures ever produced. Thus “At Boeing, SPF is now considered as a baseline design option for many large assemblies” (Dan Sanders, 2000). However, in an ever increasingly cost conscience world, will the process flourish or decline? Cost is the element most scrutinised by society, and is often considered more important than achieving a required specification or delivery of a project on time. In this paper an analysis of the global value of SPF and SPF/DB products will be provided by industrial sector and material type. The cost of the current technology, such as capital plant, consumable materials and labour overheads, will be compared to the current price of SPF products and the degree of ‘market pressure’ to reduce such costs will be assessed. Such pressures may arise from potential threats from competing technologies, fuel costs or environmental considerations. However, if lowering the ‘carbon footprint’ of the process, and its cost, could be achieved, together with the production of components and structures of improved weight to strength ratio, SPF technology could be elevated to the first, and principal, choice of designers worldwide.
Daniel G. Sanders
P. Wilson et al., "Superplastic Forming and Diffusion Bonding: Current Cost, Value and Future Trends", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 433, pp. 119-124, 2010