You may ask: “why we are using expensive 3d printers?” Answer is very simple: “1000 components can be reduced to 10” The American aircraft engine manufacturer General Electric, has more 3D printing so far than every competitor in the world: comes from the new ATP turboprop engine more than one-third of the 3D printer. This motor is incorporated into the new business aircraft Denali of American manufacturer Textron aviation.
General Electric Aviation, the world’s largest flight engine manufacturer deals for 2010 with the 3D printing of engine components. The first parts produced in large series are the injectors from cobalt-chromium for the new ‘leap’-engines manufactured by General Electric in the framework of the joint venture CFM with saffron in France for the propulsion of commercial aircraft, including the Airbus A320neo. When the new ATP motor for much smaller aircraft, General Electric has taken a different path and has the 3D included with pressure from the outset in the development of the engine. It began already in the design.
This new engine is tested at present in the GE test centre in Prague in the Czech Republic. There, General Electric has concentrated most of the development of turboprop engines. At the same time, Prague is also the seat of the ATP engines Division (Advanced turboprop) has become.
Much less individual parts in the engine
As Chief Engineer Mohamed Ehteshami of ATP, it is made possible by the 3D printing, to come out in this engine with much less non-moving components. First, the number of these parts has been reduced by more than 900 to only 16.
This has led to a weight saving of 35% for these parts. During development, turned out to be this possibility to the component and hence weight as so serious that General Electric simply temporarily stopped the development process to align the motor in the design even more in the direction of printed parts.
It managed to replace eventually total 855 items with only twelve printed components. This ranges from the motor part of the combustion chamber lining and the oil sump tank to the heat exchangers and the exhaust system.
Engine and aircraft have become altogether light
The concentration on much less and thus eventually also overall lighter components then resulted that the complete Denali aircraft Cessna Textron alone by the much lighter motor total weighs less five percent. As Ehteshami adds, leads that as a consequence to a decrease of the specific fuel consumption of the Denali aircraft by one percent.
Rolls Royce also uses 3D printing for the production of large engine parts. An article about this here. And many exciting stories about the 3D printing is hiding behind this link.