Manufactured with ST Engineering, Pratt & Whitney announces production grade additive manufacturing of an aero-engine MRO component. This production marks a milestone for Pratt & Whitney in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of commercial engines.
Based in the US, the company is a division of United Technologies Corp. that specializes in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft and helicopter engines, and auxiliary power units. ST Engineering on the other hand, provides turnkey manufacturing and engineering services.
The 3D-printed aero-engine component was produced in metal 3D Printing via a controlled process operationalized by Pratt & Whitney. This 3D printed part will first be used in a fuel system component on one of Pratt & Whitney’s engine models.
Due to an alternative material solution, Pratt & Whitney can minimize dependency on current material supply from conventional fabrication processes such as forging and casting.
“Thanks to the out-of-the-box thinking by our employees at Component Aerospace Singapore, we are now another step closer to scaling the technology to meet our growing aftermarket operations, and industrializing 3D printing for the industry. This groundbreaking innovation is part of the wider technology roadmap by Pratt & Whitney to introduce advanced technologies that integrate artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation across our operations as part of our digital transformation,” said Brendon McWilliam, executive director, Aftermarket Operations, Asia Pacific. “We are well-placed to better meet today’s demands and anticipate tomorrow’s customer needs, without compromising our high standards of quality and reliability.”
A transformative opportunity for the MRO sector
Both teams from Pratt & Whitney and ST Engineering work hard to ensure the processes leveraged in this case are certified to Pratt & Whitney’s requirements for aftermarket applications.
Due to the novelty of the idea, the technical data underpinning the authorized use of the 3D-printed metallic detail in repair, was completed after several rounds of rigorous reviews and discussions. The subsequent dataset was a result of a comprehensive review of the data by all three parties collaboratively, in the course of exploring the requirements and limitations of existing aviation regulations and 3D printers at ST Engineering.
“To 3D print an aero-engine component for a working air turbine engine is a first for us. This also demonstrates our advanced capability to offer a full turnkey manufacturing solution which not only includes production-level 3D printing, but also post processes such as heat treatment and machining. Our customers expect high standards of quality from us. For this project, we are able to deliver an aerospace component that meets not only the high-quality standards required, but also the stringent requirements by the aviation authorities,” said Tan Chor Kiat, senior vice president, Kinetics Design & Manufacturing, ST Engineering.
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