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Siemens achieves breakthrough with 3D printed gas turbine component

Combustion component for SGT-A05 was additively manufactured using a nickel superalloy

Siemens has reached yet another milestone in its journey to realize the many benefits of additive manufacturing (AM). This time the company has successfully 3D printed and engine-tested a dry low emission (DLE) pre-mixer for the SGT-A05 aeroderivative gas turbine. Results showed an impressive potential for significant reductions in CO emissions. This achievement further solidifies Siemens’ position as one of the world’s leading developers of innovative additive manufacturing techniques and uses in the energy industry.

“This is another excellent example of how additive manufacturing is revolutionizing our industry, delivering measurable benefits and real value to our customers, particularly as they look to further reduce emissions to meet environmental targets,” said Vladimir Navrotsky, Chief Technology Officer for Siemens Power Generation Services, Distributed Generation. “Our achievements using AM are paving the way for greater agility in the design, manufacturing, and maintenance of power generation components.”

The SGT-A05 aeroderivative gas turbine from Siemens.

The achievements resulting from using AM to manufacture this particular gas turbine component are significant. From concept to engine test, the development took only seven months, which is impressive for a component that requires such tight tolerances and works in high load and temperature. The DLE pre-mixer is highly complex with over 20 parts involved in the casting and assembly using traditional manufacturing methods. By utilizing Siemens qualified nickel superalloys as the AM printing material, the 3D printed component requires only two parts and lead time is reduced by approximately 70 percent. 3D printing of the DLE pre-mixer allows Siemens to simplify complexity in the production process, reduce external dependencies in the supply chain, and improves the geometry of the component, thus allowing a better fuel-air mix.

First engine testing of the AM-manufactured DLE pre-mixer, which was 3-D printed in Siemens’ AM center of competence in Finspang, Sweden, was recently completed and the data received is promising. It showed no start issues, all fuel transitions were accomplished successfully without any controls modifications required, there were no combustion dynamics or noise, measurable CO emissions reductions were realized and full power was achieved. These positive results reaffirm Siemens commitment to continuing to advance toward serial production of highly complex components, such as this one, using AM.

“Our achievements using AM are paving the way for greater agility in the design, manufacturing, and maintenance of power generation components.”Vladimir Navrotsky, Chief Technology Officer for Siemens Power Generation Services, Distributed Generation.

Siemens’ DLE solution for the SGT-A05 gas turbine reduces emissions through advanced lean burn combustion technology, eliminating the need for water injection. The DLE conversion reduces customers’ operating costs associated with water treatment. Application of DLE does not compromise the high dynamic loading response of this aeroderivative engine model. More than 120 engines are successfully utilizing DLE technology to reduce NOx and CO emissions with 3.9 million operating hours accumulated (as of February 2018). ”And now, with AM technology we have an opportunity to go even further with emissions reduction for DLE combustion,” said Douglas Willham, Siemens Director of Engineering for the SGT-A05.

Last year, Siemens finished its first full-load engine tests for gas turbine blades completely designed and produced using AM technology. Earlier this year, the company 3D printed and installed into customer’s equipment its first replacement part for an industrial steam turbine. In early 2017, Siemens achieved the first successful commercial installation and continuing safe operation of a 3D printed part in a nuclear power plant – an impeller for a fire protection pump that is in commercial operation. Siemens accumulated more than 30,000 hours of successful commercial operation for SGT-800 burners repaired with AM technology and for SGT-750 burner swirls manufactured by AM. All these combustor components are running in a very high load and temperature environment.

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Davide Sher

Over the last decade Davide has built up extensive experience as both a technology journalist and communications consultant. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he received his undergraduate degree from SUNY Stony Brook. He is a senior analyst for US-based firm SmarTech Publishing focusing on the additive manufacturing industry. He founded London-based 3D Printing Business Media Ltd. which specialises in media and communications services for the 3DP and AM industry, through which he runs 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies related to 3DP, as well as two editorial websites, 3D Printing Media Network and Il Replicatore.

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