Aerospace Manufacturer CPP Relies on B9Creations 3D Printers for Turbine Part Production

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Reflecting the continued evolution of digital light processing (DLP) expert B9Creations, Consolidated Precision Products (CPP), along with its subsidiary Poly6 Technologies, has designated B9 as its Global Additive Manufacturing (AM) Partner. This partnership focuses on the ultra-precision production of turbine blades, a component crucial for the efficiency and performance of modern aerospace engines.

A well-regarded contract manufacturer with 16 global casting facilities and over 4,500 staff, CPP specializes in the manufacturing of complex and high-precision components, such as turbine blades and other critical aerospace systems. The relationship between CPP and MIT AM spinout Poly6 dates back to 2019 when CPP acquired Poly6 Technologies. This acquisition was a strategic step by CPP to harness new technologies aimed at enhancing the aerospace industry’s capabilities.

Poly6, known for its work in material science and additive processes, had already established a significant partnership with B9Creations six years prior to the acquisition. This collaboration was necessary for industrializing Poly6’s concepts. Initially utilizing B9Creations’ standard hardware, the collaboration soon expanded to include software tools tailored for Poly6’s unique material and printer interactions, along with semi-custom hardware developments. These advancements were specifically designed to meet the stringent requirements for dimensional accuracy necessary in turbine blade manufacturing.

“Poly6 surveyed the SLA / DLP industry and found no other company that matched the process control, hardware consistency, customer service and unit economics of B9C, applicable to industrial manufacturing,” said Matthew Stellmaker, Poly6 Founder.

Following CPP’s acquisition of Poly6, the focus shifted towards refining these processes, ensuring regulatory compliance, and maintaining high standards in quality systems. Today, CPP leverages Poly6’s technology to produce high-pressure turbine components for commercial engines. This production is not only faster but also more efficient than previous methods, thanks in large part to the continuous development and integration of B9Creations’ technologies.

B9Creations machines

“CPP’s capability to provide high pressure turbine components to OEMs is enhanced through the success of Poly6. The alliance with B9Creations has enabled Poly6 to redefine dimensional control and agility while meeting strict aerospace standards,” said James Stewart, CPP CEO.

B9Creations has also contributed significantly to this partnership by developing customized AM solutions tailored to the specific needs of CPP and Poly6. These solutions include a software tool that optimizes production processes, a series of custom 3D printers that meet specific size and precision requirements for turbine blades, and software integrations that enhance production lifecycle management through Poly6’s manufacturing execution system.

“Ownership and mastery of the intersection of our IP, hardware, software, and materials capabilities and owning our own production here in the USA enables us to readily customize our additive manufacturing systems to specific applications and address pressing business challenges at all points of scale.  Helping industries address workforce, capital, and capacity challenges via additive manufacturing solutions is our core competency. We believe this integrated approach will be the cornerstone of additive manufacturing 2.0, offering unparalleled flexibility and innovation potential for customers who recognize that successful production applications of additive require great partnerships,” said Shon Anderson, B9Creations CEO.

The story is an interesting one that demonstrates B9’s overall evolution that has paralleled that of the desktop 3D printing industry. The company began with its first 3D printer, the B9Creator, funded through Kickstarter and one of the first inexpensive DLP systems on the market. Originating in a garage in 2014, B9Creations moved to a 4,000-square-foot facility in Rapid City, South Dakota, to accommodate production, R&D, and customer support. By 2017, the company launched the B9 Core Series, enhancing speed and resolution based on customer feedback, and continued to expand its product range to include 3D scanners and post-processing accessories. This evolution supported the transition to fully scaled production, rivaling traditional manufacturing precision. In 2019, B9Creations expanded to an 18,000-square-foot manufacturing plant and further established an office in Dallas, Texas.

Whereas the B9Creator was seen as a DIY, hobbyist machine, the company’s expansive growth, both in terms of operations and technological development, has reflected B9’s ability to adapt to a changing market. Now, with CPP, we see how it is successfully making custom machines for critical, high-value applications in aerospace.

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