GE Additive today announced at the Paris Air Show that GE Aviation has made a significant investment in its electron beam melting (EBM) technology, with the purchase of an additional 17 A2X systems and 10 Spectra H systems. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Avio Aero, a GE Aviation company, currently operates a fleet of 35 Arcam machines at its recently expanded site in Cameri, Italy. The additional EBM systems will be installed at GE Aviation and Avio Aero facilities in the US and Europe and will be used primarily for the production of titanium aluminide (TiAl) blades on the low-pressure turbine for the GE9X engine.
Additively manufactured TiAl blades are roughly half the weight of traditional nickel-alloy turbine blades. GE Additive Arcam EBM A2X machines produce six blades per batch, while the Spectra H system can produce up to ten blades, in around the same time.
For the GE9X engine, which has been developed by GE Aviation for Boeing’s new 777X wide-body jet, the weight saving from the TiAl LPT blades contributes to a fuel consumption reduction of 10% (and therefore emissions) compared to its predecessor, the GE90.
“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.
“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 in particular for the Spectra H,” says Karl Lindblom, general manager, GE Additive Arcam EBM
The EBM process utilizes a high-power electron beam that generates the energy needed for high melting capacity and high productivity. The hot process allows customers to produce parts with no residual stress and the vacuum ensures a clean and controlled environment. EBM is a leading-edge technology that offers freedom in design, excellent material properties and stacking capabilities.