Exone end to end binder jetting service

GE Uses Breakthrough New Electron Gun For 3D Printing – 10X’s More Powerful Than Laser Sintering

Metal Parts Produced
Commercial Space
Medical Devices

Share this Article

New GE9X Engine

New GE9X Engine

Probably one of the leaders in terms of manufacturing end-use components via 3D printing would be General Electric. They seem to be a step or two ahead, of both their competition, as well as other industries in general, when dealing with additive manufacturing. A couple weeks ago we reported on GE’s plans to 3D print the turbines in their upcoming GE9X engine, which will be the driving force behind Boeing’s new 777X passenger aircraft, set to begin production in 2017.

Today, General Electric released further details on the new 3D printing breakthrough which will be utilized in the production of turbine blades for the GEnx engine, used in Boeing’s Dreamliner and 747-8 aircraft, as well as their upcoming GE9X engines. The breakthrough, which is a type of electron beam melting (EBM), was developed by Italian aerospace company Avio which GE acquired last year, in conjunction with Sweden’s Arcam.

The turbine blades, which GE will be manufacturing, will consist of an advanced aerospace material called titanium aluminide. The material traditionally is very hard to work with, however, the fact that it is 50% lighter than nickel-based alloys, which are currently used in the production of turbine blades, makes it ideal for use within these particular blades.

Digital Fabrication Via Electron Beam Melting

Digital Fabrication Via Electron Beam Melting

“Although the material is expensive, the weight savings and the fuel consumption savings tied to weight reduction more than pay for it,” said Mauro Varetti, advanced manufacturing engineer at Avio.

From Left to right, Turbines blades for the LEAP, GEnx, GE90 and GE9X jet engines.

From Left to right, Turbines blades for the LEAP, GEnx, GE90 and GE9X jet engines.

What makes this technology so incredible is its speed and power, when compared to a typical lasers used within traditional laser sintering machines. A 3-kilowatt electron gun is used to accelerate electrons which then melt powdered titanium aluminide, or whatever other metal a manufacturer desires. The electron beam gun is an entire order of magnitude (10 times) more powerful than that of lasers you see in typical additive manufacturing machines, allowing for the fabrications of products which are amazingly four times thicker. The speed of production is also incredible, allowing GE to fabricate eight turbine blades in just 72 hours from one machine.

“This is very competitive with casting, which is how we used to make them,” says Varetti, when speaking about the turbine blades.

General Electric is supposed to begin testing the EBM manufactured blades for the GEnx engine before the end of this year, before moving on to blades for their new GE9X engines.

Avio has recently opened a new 20,000 sqft production facility in Turin Italy, in which they have several EBM machines at work, and General Electric is in the process of building an additional facility in Alamaba to print fuel nozzles for their jet engines. It will be interesting to see where General Electric takes this technology next, as the speed and power of this new electron beam melting process could have huge implications on the production of many important parts, both in the aerospace industry, as well as outside industries. Let’s hear your thoughts on this breakthrough in the GE electron beam melting forum thread on 3DPB.com.

[Source: GEReports.com]
The Actual EBM Process Using the Electron Gun.

The Actual EBM Process Using the Electron Gun.

Share this Article


Recent News

Expansion Strategy: 3D Printing Digital Imaging Company In-Vision is Now a Stock Corporation

FX20 Printer & Continuous Fiber Reinforced ULTEM 9085 Increase 3D Printing in Demanding Industries



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: October 24, 2021

It’s another busy week of events and roundups, covering topics from dispensing and medical applications to AM risk assessment, software, and much more. Read on for all the details! ViscoTec’s...

2021 Formnext Start-Up Challenge & AM Ventures Impact Award Winners Announced

While the physical event was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Formnext is back live and in-person this year, November16-19, albeit with some very specific rules for attendance....

Hexagon & Stratasys Announce Partnership to Integrate Digimat Software with ULTEM 9805

One of the world’s most prominent intelligent manufacturing software firms, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, has announced a new partnership with Stratasys, an industry leader in producing 3D printers and solutions for...

RAPID + TCT 2021 Day 2: 3D Printing with Inkbit, Farsoon, AON3D, & Raise3D

At the recent RAPID + TCT 2021 in Chicago, I had the opportunity to attend keynote presentations, interview several industry companies, watch an awards ceremony, and walk the show floor....


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.