Avio Aero, a subsidiary of GE Aviation, and GE Additive have signed a non-binding letter of intent (LOI), outlining a strategic technology collaboration agreement with the BEAMIT Group, Fornovo di Taro, Italy, partly owned by Sandvik. Under the LOI, BEAMIT will collaborate with Avio Aero on technology development and, in particular, the post-processing of certain additively manufactured components for the GE9X and the Catalyst engines.
“Industrialising metal Additive Manufacturing in aerospace continues at pace and we need trusted partners in our ecosystem who can grow with us,” stated Riccardo Procacci, CEO of Avio Aero and GE Additive. “I am thrilled that we are strengthening our relationship with BEAMIT and its shareholder Sandvik. BEAMIT’s sound strategic vision and the wider team’s advanced additive expertise is world-class.”
Mauro Antolotti, president, BEAMIT Group, commented, “It is an honour for me to enter into this LOI with GE for projects of this magnitude. Being where we are today, as one of the largest, most integrated and advanced Additive Manufacturing groups in the world, we are in a position to offer leading capabilities across the entire AM value chain, also through our shareholder Sandvik’s leading material expertise and extensive metal powder capabilities. This definitely confirms the hard work that started seven years ago as a vision, and has been pursued with great commitment and strength.”
BEAMIT is a longstanding GE Additive customer which operates a fleet of Concept Laser and Arcam EBM machines including the Mlab, M2 and X Line platforms, as well as two Q10plus machines across its subsidiaries – Pres-X and Zare – serving customers in multiple industries, including aerospace, defence and medical.
The intention is for GE Additive and BEAMIT to cooperate on a number of strategic projects, such as special post-processing machinery and technologies as well as materials, to meet long-term production needs. GE Additive would become BEAMIT’s strategic equipment supplier, as it continues to scale its operations and enhances its existing facilities to meet long-term production needs.
The LOI includes collaboration and assessment on post-processing technologies for the specific requirements of certain GE9X and Catalyst engine components such as MRI and tomographic inspection, HIP and machining equipment. BEAMIT would contribute to the reduction of the lead times necessary to build components, including machining and testing processes, and it would also support new modalities under development at Avio Aero with super-cleaning and super-finishing surfaces.
BEAMIT would also support in the development of GE Additive’s Concept Laser M Line Factory system. The BEAMIT team would work with GE Additive to fine tune and qualify the M Line specifically for aerospace components in accordance with the necessary qualitative requirements. In connection with this activity, BEAMIT would file for, and obtain, the aerospace qualification for a dedicated R&D division that it would establish.
In the mid-term future, as GE and BEAMIT grow together, BEAMIT has the intention to further expand its operations and develop a completely digitalised and sustainable production line, dedicated to the production of ‘engine-ready’ components, for assembly, where the GE parts will be produced. In parallel with this LOI, BEAMIT has recently opened a brand new facility, dedicated to coatings, in order to enhance the special process range available for the wider aerospace sector.
The projects contemplated by the LOI go a long way to help BEAMIT achieve its ‘One Stop Shop’ approach, which is driven by market demand, technological evolution and the inclusion of new processes and new accreditations. Today, the entire BEAMIT Group is covered by five Nadcap accreditations – with three new others in progress – and by the TULPS for defence sector activities. BEAMIT has also started the ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and EASA part 21 pathway.
“Our strategic and industrial partnership with our shareholder Sandvik gives us a competitive advantage when it comes to leading materials expertise, materials development capabilities and supply of the widest range of alloys,” added Andrea Scanavini, Group General Manager, BEAMIT Group. “Now, making the ‘One Stop Shop’ concept a reality, together with the digital integration of the entire value chain is a differentiating element, which can play an essential role in making Additive Manufacturing even more sustainable – without a waiver to the technical advantages offered by technology. In Avio Aero and GE Additive, we have found companies who share a similar strategic vision and a strong focus on the research of new materials for additive manufacturing as well as new technologies.”
He concluded, “Ultimately, the digitalised factory is a key element of our mid-term strategy to enable a win-win relationship with GE. A dedicated factory where all the manufacturing phases are installed and directly interconnected allows us to reach the maximum grade of efficiency, high productivity and total quality required by GE.”