Krueger gooseneck flaps – Actuation Bracket

Optimizing components at ASCO Industries during the implementation of the AFLoNext Project

Previous gooseneck rack

Krueger Flaps are a device used in the aviation industry designed to improve the lift and control of an aircraft during takeoff and landing. They are considered a viable alternative to slats on the leading edge of future laminar wing platforms. The gooseneck bracket is a structural component of the Krueger flap actuator designed by ASCO within the scope of the AFLoNext project.

The bracket functions as a hinge between the Krueger flap and the fixed leading edge. Its elegant shape is a result of stringent space allocation requirements and high area loading. Originally designed for machining by ASCO, the machined version of the bracket is made of high-strength corrosion resistant steel and weighs 2005g. However, with complex manufacturing processes and poor buy-to-fly ratios, this part became a target for optimization.

“Buy-to-fly ratio: the ratio of the mass of the starting stock to the mass of the final finished part.

Innovate with SLM metal 3D printing technology

Collaborate for optimization

In this optimization project, ASCO and SLM Solutions chose a collaborative approach to create the best new design for the Gooseneck Racks. SLM® application engineers were involved in reviewing the various design steps to ensure manufacturability.

Dual laser technology reduces printing time from 82 hours to 48 hours. Not only that, SLM Solutions also succeeded in establishing a process for stress handling and heat transfer of large titanium parts.

Redesigned gooseneck bracket

One advantage of the 3D printing production method is that it allows users to create products with designs with a mesh topology. With this special structure, the finished product can be optimized in both weight and performance significantly compared to parts designed to be machined using traditional methods. Taking advantage of technology, engineers redesigned the gooseneck bracket to achieve the project goals.

The goal of optimization was to minimize weight while achieving the strength needed to withstand the aerodynamic loads identified in the AFLoNext project. Furthermore, the unit has been integrated with two additional sections. The previously assembled component weight was 2050g, after being redesigned for production using 3D printing technology, the weight was reduced to 1416g, saving 31% of weight while reducing total assembly time.

Improve buy-to-fly ratio

The buy-to-fly ratio of the traditionally produced version is about 17. Meanwhile, metal 3D printing technology has reduced this ratio to just 1.5. This ratio is mainly due to the material used as the support structure for the main part and the small amount of material needed for the post-production stage of the product.

Reduce machining time

Processing time to create a finished product from a block of metal is about 4.5 hours. However, for production using SLM metal 3D printing technology, the part only needs to be machined at some of the surfaces marked in red during post-processing steps after the printing process is completed.


3D printing technology has made these changes:

     - Save 31% in weight while reducing total assembly time.

     - Integrates three parts into one simple assembly

     - Buy-to-fly ratio decreased from 17 to 1.5

     - Significantly reduces machining time

   - Reduce print time by 42% when using the SLM®280 Twin, compared to a single laser


ASCO is a Belgian aerospace company headquartered in Brussels. This is also the world's leading company in the development of Leading Edge and Trailing Edge driving mechanisms and in the processing of high-strength steel, titanium and aluminum alloys. ASCO is also known for its extensive manufacturing and assembly capabilities that create precise and cost-effective solutions for landing gear and structural components, such as fuselage frames and engine attachments.

Source: Nikon SLM Solutions

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