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Futuralve Project Utilizes Metal 3D Printing to Improve High-Speed Aerospace Turbines

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Renishaw is a busy company, lending its metrology and metal 3D printing expertise to a broad variety of applications from boats to eye surgery. One of its primary industries, however, has always been aerospace. That’s a particular area of focus right now for Renishaw Ibérica, the company’s Spanish subsidiary. Currently, Renishaw Ibérica is part of a large project known as the Futuralve project, which is geared towards the development of new, advanced materials and manufacturing technologies for aerospace turbines.

The Futuralve project is being led by ITP, a Spain-based, international manufacturer of aerospace engines and turbines. Participants include a consortium of other Spanish companies, as well as universities and technology centers. It’s a four-year project, funded by the Spanish government through the Center for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), and its goal is to enhance the production of high-speed turbines through advanced manufacturing and materials.

Alex Garcia, Additive Manufacturing Design and Applications Engineer at Renishaw Ibérica

Renishaw Ibérica’s part in the project is twofold. First, there’s the additive manufacturing side. Renishaw will be working alongside the Center for Advanced Aerospace Technologies (CATEC) in Seville to, specifically, develop nickel based alloys for the 3D printing of turbine components. The two organizations will work together to study the properties of the alloys, define machine parameters for the materials, and overall optimize them for additive manufacturing.

“High performance components within aerospace turbines require materials able to maintain excellent mechanical properties in very aggressive environments,” said Dr. Marc Gardon, PhD in Material Science at Renishaw Ibérica. “In this framework, nickel based super-alloys that are manufactured from subtractive machining have certain design limitations, which may hinder the overall efficiency of the engine/system. Therefore, a convenient scenario is identified for additive manufacturing, where complex geometries unreachable by conventional procedures could be manufactured. Nevertheless, super-alloys can present more than 10 alloying elements, which lead to distinct phases, microstructures and mechanical properties. Renishaw is developing advanced criteria regarding how the laser and process parameters interact with the powder bed in these complex materials. This required effort, which is one of the key themes in the Futuralve project, is essential in manufacturing fully satisfactory components and therefore approving additive manufacturing as a production method within the aerospace supply chain.”

Then there’s the metrology side of the project. Obviously, when manufacturing flight-critical airplane parts, safety and quality are of the utmost importance, so Renishaw will be leveraging two of its inspection systems to assess the components as they’re being manufactured. REVO is a 5-axis measurement system that scans and inspects parts without contact and conducts surface finish analysis, while SPRINT is an on-machine contact scanner that scans and analyzes parts while they’re in the process of being machined.

“The Futuralve project, as well as incorporating our coordinate measuring machine and additive manufacturing products, will utilise Renishaw’s innovative on-machine tool contact system SPRINT. SPRINT significantly increases the number of scanned points on parts manufactured or repaired in a way that allows a more precise machining and a reduction of measurement times,” said Víctor Escobar, Managing Director of Renishaw Ibérica. “By taking into account the quality controls required by the aeronautical customer, it is of vital importance to develop throughout the project the capabilities to control key features of each part (such as diameters, thread parameters, depths and thicknesses) in a productive environment for feedback in a closed loop that ensures the quality standards are met.”

Renishaw will work with the Aeronautics Advanced Manufacturing Center (CFAA) to apply its inspection technology to the parts manufactured through the project. Other industrial participants in the Futuralve project include:

Several Spanish universities and technology centers are also involved. The Futuralve project aims to develop new lightweight materials that can withstand high temperature and force and to focus on additive manufacturing for new design possibilities and faster production. Discuss in the Futuralve forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source/Images: Renishaw]

 

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