USAF 3-D prints four out-of-production metal parts
Posted on 14 May 2022 and read 848 times
The US Air Force
(USAF) and GE
recently entered the third phase of the ‘Pacer Edge’ pathfinder which has focused on 3-D printing for four aircraft parts that are currently obsolete: a bellcrank, gearbox seat, anti-icing valve body and a cross shaft arm.
The first two parts, the cross shaft arm and the bellcrank, have been successfully printed in cobalt-chrome on a fleet of M2 Series 5 system at GE Additive‘s facility in Cincinnati.
The final phase of the programme over the coming years is to establish the USAF’s own metal additive production infrastructure initially at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. This capability will alleviate long lead timetables that currently plague the casting and forging industries.
Mr. John Sneden, USAF director of propulsion, said: “Pacer Edge represents a monumental step forward in innovative partnership with industry. Through this programme, our enterprise team will deliver safe and timely propulsion readiness in support of the US warfighter.”
USAF is not the only entity struggling to receive their castings and forgings in a timely manner. It remains a choke point for many industries and has only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lauren Tubesing, GE Additive director of operations (military programmes), said: “Public-private initiatives like the recently announced ‘AM Forward’ initiative will also help to address DoD’s sustainment and readiness challenges head on.
“Strengthening US supply chains, by encouraging small and medium-size manufacturers across the USA to adopt metal additive technology, will create a nationwide network of a qualified additive manufacturing suppliers.”