Additive Manufacturing Strategies

GE Aviation to Purchase EBM A2X Machines & Arcam Spectra H Systems

ST Medical Devices

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It’s a win for both companies as GE Aviation puts Arcam EBM further on the map with the current announcement regarding their purchase of 17 Arcam EBM A2X machines and 10 Arcam Spectra H systems—with Arcam playing an enormous role in assisting GE as they forge ahead with electron beam melting technology. This latest development was just made public at the Paris Air Show, as the GE Additive team (which currently includes additive machine providers Concept Laser and Arcam EBM, along with additive material provider AP&C) discussed current progress being made by GE Aviation, along with their current and significant investment in Arcam hardware.

GE Aviation is no stranger to Arcam products, however, as Avio Aero, already operates a ‘fleet’ of 35 Arcam EBM systems at a GE Aviation site in Cameri, Italy. The new EBM machines will be placed in both GE Aviation and Avio Aero facilities around the US and Europe, mainly producing titanium aluminide (TiAl) blades on the low-pressure turbine for the GE9X engine. It is easy to see why all involved are continuing on this industrial path as TiAl blades can be manufactured at half the weight of more conventional materials like nickel-alloy turbine blades.

The Arcam EBM A2X make six blades per batch, and as the GE team states in their recent press release sent to 3DPrint.com, the Spectra H system can make up to ten blades in nearly the same timeframe. This technology will benefit Boeing’s new 777X wide-body jet, and with the lighter weight, will save fuel costs up to ten percent—along with emitting fewer emissions.

“Having a robust and reliable additive technology infrastructure in place is a critical component of the GE9X program,” says Eric Gatlin, general manager, Additive Integrated Product Team, GE Aviation. “Avio Aero’s Cameri site has been a great testing ground to see the Arcam EBM machines in action and how they scale. We’re looking forward to continuing the expansion in Cameri and rolling them out to a US location in the coming months,” he adds.

Using a high-power electron beam, EBM also offers the following benefits:

  • Production of parts with no residual stress
  • Clean, vacuum-controlled environment
  • Freedom in design
  • Excellent material properties
  • Stacking capabilities

“GE Aviation has doubled its fleet of Arcam EBM machines in a relatively short period. We’re thrilled and it’s a great endorsement for our team, for EBM and for the Spectra H,” says Karl Lindblom, general manager, GE Additive Arcam EBM.

Both GE Aviation and Arcam act as the very definition of dynamic companies, known as leaders in their fields. We continue to follow GE’s journey into 3D printing and AM processes, along with contributing enormous innovation to the industrial world and aerospace as they have created parts like their turboprop engine, one third of which is comprised of 3D printed metal, and over 30,000 fuel nozzles that have been created through AM processes.  What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source / Images: GE Additive]

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