GE Aviation is among the most reknowned aircraft engine suppliers that produces engines for the majority of commercial aircraft. The company itself owns several companies including Avio Aero that operates a fleet of 35 Arcam machines at its recently expanded site in Cameri, Italy.

GE Aviation has certainly made the most daring and significant investment in the AM industry through the acquisition of 17 Arcam EBM A2X machines and 10 Arcam Spectra H systems.

Those EBM systems will be installed at GE Aviation and Avio Aero facilities in the US and Europe and will serve the production of titanium aluminide (TiAl) blades on the low-pressure turbine for the GE9X engine.

“GE Aviation has doubled its fleet of Arcam EBM machines in a relatively short period. We’re thrilled and it’s a great endorsement for our team, for EBM and in particular for the Spectra H,” says Karl Lindblom, general manager, GE Additive Arcam EBM.

Using AM to produce TiAI blades

Titanium aluminide is material that enables the production of much lighter aircraft engines. Furthermore an increasing number of aircraft engines rely on blades of produced from titanium aluminide materials to save weight in the low-pressure turbine. Add to that the potential of AM technology and one obtains additively manufactured TiAl blades that are roughly half the weight of traditional nickel-alloy turbine blades.

GE Additive explains that its Arcam EBM A2X machines can produce six blades per batch, while the Spectra H system can achieve up to ten blades, in around the same time.

Such manufacturing enables GE Aviation to achieve a fuel consumption reduction of 10% for the GE9X engine, integrated in Boeing’s new 777X wide-body jet.

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. “Avio Aero’s Cameri site has been a great testing ground to see the Arcam EBM machines in action and how they scale. We’re looking forward to continuing the expansion in Cameri and rolling them out to a US location in the coming months,” he adds.

Featured image: courtesy of GE Additive. You can now post free of charge job opportunities in the AM Industry on 3D ADEPT Media.

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Susanne is a writer by profession and a technology Geek. She loves to explore innovations in technology - especially those relaed to 3D printing.