GE Aviation business Avio Aero’s Additive Manufacturing plant in Brindisi, Italy, has officially begun the metal Additive Manufacturing of parts for the new GE Catalyst engine, used in the Cessna Denali light aircraft, reports the company’s in-house magazine, about. The new AM facility in Brindisi was inaugurated in December 2018, and specialises in Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) Additive Manufacturing.
The Catalyst engine is believed to be the first turboprop engine in the world in which almost 30% of the internal metal parts are additively manufactured. Its first flight is expected to take place at the end of 2019. Up to ten components for the Catalyst will be produced at Brindisi by L-PBF, three of which are now in production.
The facility has three L-PBF systems from GE Additive Concept Laser in operation, as well as two dedicated post-processing systems. By the end of 2019, the machine fleet is expected to double, with the facility forecast to reach full capacity with a further fifteen machines installed between 2022–2023. Around three-hundred Catalyst engines are expected to be produced at the facility per year.
Speaking on the development of the facility in Brindisi, the production team’s Additive Manufacturing Leader, Dario Mantegazza, formerly employed at Avio Aero’s Cameri plant, stated, “When I was at Cameri, we facilitated the introduction of EBM technology to GE, as well as learning and coaching for industrialisation, and for the last couple of years, we have also been learning how to optimise and industrialise DMLM technology. Now we are finally ready to apply it in production for the first products.”