Navarre-based companies Anteral, Microlan and Naitec test additive manufacturing of small satellites


The collaborative project Validdantennes, led by the company Anteral and involving seven other French and Spanish companies, including Microlan and Naitec from Navarra, has concluded confirming that metal additive manufacturing can offer multiple advantages in the production of small satellites.


The Navarrese companies Anteral, Microlan and Naitec have recently concluded the Validdantennes initiative, in which a consortium of companies from the Euroregion New Aquitaine-Euskadi-Navarre investigated metal additive manufacturing in the telecommunications sector. Led by Anteral, this project provided a boost to the Euroregional value chain in the aerospace sector, motivated by the rapid growth that the small satellite industry has experienced in recent years.

Specifically, the initiative focused on designing, simulating, manufacturing and analyzing two communications radiating chains for small satellites. One of the components was manufactured using CNC machining techniques and the other by additive manufacturing in metal SLM (Selective Laser Melting or powder bed fusion).

After subjecting both parts to electromagnetic response measurements and environmental performance studies (vibration and thermal cycling), the project demonstrated that the SLM fabricated radiant chain offers similar performance to the CNC fabricated chain, with a weight reduction of about 50%. In addition, metallographic analysis confirms the potential of SLM technology, as the percentage of defects found in the samples tested is very low and no major flaws were found.

This study, which was carried out between February 2021 and July 2022, was financially supported by the Euroregion New-Aquitaine / Euskadi / Navarra. Its consortium includes companies and innovation agents from the three territories with complementary and multidisciplinary profiles. In addition to the aforementioned entities from Navarre, the project counted with the participation of LISI Aerospace Additive Manufacturing, Fundación Centro de Tecnologías Aeronáuticas (CTA), and the Aeronautics and Space Cluster Association of the Basque Country (HEGAN).