GE Aviation, the aviation subsidiary under GE Additive, has purchased an additional 17 A2X systems and 10 Spectra H system from their Swedish-based industrial 3D printer manufacturing subsidiary, ARCAM.
The new addition will be on top of the current fleet of 35 Arcam machines that are installed at Cameri, Italy and operated by Avio Aero, a GE Aviation company. Utilizing ARCAM’s Electron Beam Melting (EBM) technology that produces parts with no residual stress, the additional systems will be installed at GE Aviation and Avio Aero facilities across America and Europe to produce titanium aluminide (TiAl) blade on the low-pressure turbine for the GE9X engine.
Additively manufactured TiAl blades typically only weigh roughly half the weight of traditional nickel-alloy turbine blades, and will play a vital role in flight performance. A2X machines can produce six blades per batch, while the Spectra H system can produce up to ten blades, in around the same time.
The GE9X engine which was developed especially for Boeing’s new 777X wide-body jet is expected to benefit immensely from the weight saving of the TiAl LPT blades, with a fuel consumption reduction of 10% as compared to its predecessor, the GE90.
Having a robust and reliable additive technology infrastructure in place is a critical component of the GE9X program,” says Eric Gatlin, general manager, Additive Integrated Product Team, GE Aviation.
The new deal which will see GE Aviation doubling their fleet of ARCAM EBM machines in a relatively short period of time is seen as a great endorsement for EBM technology and the company’s new additive platform for production, Spectra H.