Optomec, a metal additive manufacturing company based in New Mexico, has revealed that over 10 million turbine blades have been refurbished or repaired using its metal 3D printing technology. The company realized the milestone after conducting a survey of over 100 customer installations using its metal AM systems for gas turbine component repair.
“We are really excited to reach this important milestone for both the additive manufacturing segment and, more important, for our gas turbine customers,” said Mike Dean, Marketing Director at Optomec. “Chances are that if you fly much, you’ve probably flown with an engine that was maintained with an Optomec laser cladder.”
Optomec’s laser cladding technology is the most widely adopted in the industry and has received approval for aviation maintenance operations across 15 countries. The technology is based on a directed energy deposition (DED) process and has AM and hard facing applications for compressor and turbine blades, IBRs, blisks, vanes and various engine components.
In addition to its 5-axis Laser Cladder, Optomec customers have also adopted its LENS metal AM systems. Over 100 of these two DED-based technologies have been installed at customer facilities, including those of leading gas turbine OEMs in the aviation and energy markets and third party Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) shops.
These customers regularly use Optomec’s systems for repairing turbine blade tips, seals and wear surfaces, compressor blades, vanes, shrouds and other high value components. The company’s DED-based systems offer a number of benefits, including propriety vision and adaptive control software, controlled inert atmosphere processing for superior metallurgy, turnkey repair process recipes and automation solutions which unlock superior productivity. Moreover, the company says the ROI for its machinery is in excess of 180%.
Last November, Optomec celebrated another key milestone: the installation of its 500th industrial 3D printer, which was purchased by GE.