At the beginning of the year, MTU Aero Engines had implemented a new department dedicated to additive manufacturing. Managed by Dr. Jürgen Kraus, the aim is to push activities forward from design to technology development and all the way to production.

Today, 30 professionals from a wide range of disciplines in the technical field are working for the specialist in low-pressure turbines, high-pressure compressors, turbine center frames and manufacturing processes in this unit. They are looking forward to developing conceptual designs of applications and constructions from a bionic perspective. According to experts, 3D printed parts will represent at least 15 percent of the entire produciton chain.

With the development of new machine types and improved online process control, it will be possible to produce an increasing number of components by additive manufacturing in a cost-effective manner, explains Dr. Jörg Henne, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Technology.

Note that MTU uses selective laser melting and the manufacturer does not intend to stop here. 3D printing has now become its top priority to develop other technology projects, hence its interest in exploring new materials, new components as well as new designs.

The PurePower®PW1100G-JM geared turbofan engine uses metal AM borescope bosses (Image Credit:  MTU Aero Engines)

For now, it is quite difficult to perceive limitations on such strategy. It seems that MTU has already a well-defined strategy which does not currently include mass production, an issue which still needs to be tackled on the market.

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