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Pratt & Whitney Evaluates Large Velo3D System for 3D Printing Jet Engine Parts


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Velo3D has announced that its Sapphire XC will be evaluated for use in the production of jet engine components by Pratt & Whitney, at the Raytheon Technologies Research Center, in East Hartford, Connecticut. A subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, Pratt & Whitney is one of the world’s largest aero-engine manufacturers.

Released at the end of 2021, the Sapphire XC currently has the largest build capacity of any Velo3D machine, although that will change later this year, when the XC 1MZ is released. Lockheed Martin Space received one of the first Sapphire XC’s, in April, 2022, after Velo3D announced shipment of the first machine, to an unnamed “key aerospace customer”, last December. Additionally, Texas-based contract manufacturer Knust-Godwin, which makes parts for a variety of heavy industry sectors including oil & gas and aerospace/defense, received a Sapphire XC earlier this month.

In a press release, Velo3D’s founder and CEO, Benny Buller, commented, “Metal additive manufacturing [AM] can transform aviation and space systems by delivering unprecedented part consolidation, lighter weight components, and more efficient systems. …We’re eager to see how [Pratt & Whitney] innovate their most mission-critical designs using our end-to-end solution, and how the economies of scale of an in-house system help increase addressable use-cases.”

It is notable that Lockheed and Raytheon are among the earliest customers for the Sapphire XC, beyond the fact that they’re two of the world’s largest defense corporations. They’re also two of the five initial corporate participants in the Biden administration’s AM Forward program, launched in May of this year. The program’s objective is to stimulate the adoption of AM by American small and medium enterprises (SMEs), mainly by directing a large number of existing SME-related federal agencies to start facilitating and encouraging the incorporation of AM.

Thus, Velo3D — as well as any company servicing one of the five AM Forward corporations — will grow increasingly integrated into the federal procurement supply chain for 3D printing. In other words, Velo3D can be expected to be one of the many beneficiaries of increasing amounts of federal funding for the AM sector throughout the rest of this decade.

Moreover, assuming Pratt & Whitney’s evaluation of the Sapphire XC is successful, Velo3D will continue to get more and more customers from the aerospace sector. This would put it in good position to be considered the industry standard for powder bed fusion metal printing.

Images courtesy of Velo3D

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