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3D-printed aero engine parts get ready to fly

8th June 2021 - 18:38 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, allows engineers and designers to print complex metal parts directly from a computer file. (Photo: GE)

GE Aviation receives airworthiness qualification from the US Air Force in under a year for the first metal 3D-printed engine part.

GE Aviation has received Engineering Change Proposal approval from the USAF for an F110 additively manufactured sump cover.

This F110 component is the first engine element designed for and produced by metal-additive manufacturing to be qualified by any US DoD entity.

The airworthiness qualification of the sump cover brings Pacer Edge Phase 1a of the pathfinder to its conclusion.

GE leveraged its experience in metal-additive engineering and manufacturing to drive the quick qualification process, which took less than a year.

Phase 1b is already under way and focuses on an out-of-production sump cover housing on the TF43 engine, which has been in service for more than 40 years.

The USAF Propulsion Directorate and RSO invested $10million to fund additional phases of the Pacer Edge programme.

This funding will accelerate the development of a USAF organic additive-manufacturing capability and capacity to design and print flightworthy hardware for military engines, aircraft and support equipment.

The Pacer Edge team is utilising this capability to alleviate hard-to-source and obsolete spare-part constraints for legacy systems.

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