At the Paris Air Show
, GE Additive announced that GE Aviation has made a significant investment in its electron beam melting (EBM) technology, with the purchase of another 17 Arcam A2X systems and 10 Arcam Spectra H systems.
Avio Aero — a GE Aviation company — currently operates 35 Arcam machines at its recently expanded site in Cameri, Italy.
The additional EBM systems will be installed at GE Aviation and Avio Aero facilities in the USA and Europe; they will be used primarily for the production of titanium aluminide (TiAl) blades on the low-pressure turbine for the GE9X engine.
Additively manufactured TiAl blades are about half the weight of traditional nickel-alloy turbine blades. GE Additive Arcam EBM A2X machines produce six blades per batch, while the Spectra H system can produce up to 10 blades in about the same time.
For the GE9X engine — developed by GE Aviation for Boeing’s new 777X wide-body jet — the weight saving from the TiAl LPT blades contributes to a 10% reduction in fuel consumption (and therefore emissions) compared to its predecessor, the GE90.
Eric Gatlin, general manager of GE Aviation’s additive integrated product team, said: “Having a robust and reliable additive technology infrastructure in place is a critical component of the GE9X programme.
“Avio Aero’s Cameri site has been a great testing ground to see the Arcam EBM machines in action and how they ‘scale’.
“We are looking forward to continuing the expansion in Cameri and rolling them out to a US location in the coming months.”
GE Additive also announced that Toulouse-based FusiA Aeroadditive — part of the French group Freyssinet AeroEquipment and the Canadian FusiA Group — will invest in its first GE Additive Concept M2 multi-laser system.
With more than eight years’ experience in metal additive manufacturing, FusiA Aeroaddtive is an ISO 9001- and AS/EN/JISQ 9001-certified Tier One supplier to the aerospace industry.
The company’s customers include Airbus, Bombardier and Safran; it is also closely involved in a number of
additive research projects (on both sides of the Atlantic).