GE Additive and the US Air Force (USAF) have reported successful builds for out of production parts under its ongoing Pacer Edge metal Additive Manufacturing pathfinder programme. GE recently entered the third phase of Pacer Edge with the main focus on Additive Manufacturing of four parts that are currently said to be obsolete: a bellcrank, gearbox seat, anti-icing valve body and a cross shaft arm.
The cross shaft arm and the bellcrank are reported to have been successfully additively manufactured in cobalt-chrome on a fleet of M2 Series 5 Additive Manufacturing machines at GE Additive‘s facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
The final phase of the Pacer Edge programme over the coming years is to establish the USAF’s own metal additive production infrastructure initially at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. It is hoped that this capability will alleviate long lead timetables that currently impact the casting and forging industries.
The USAF is stated to be not the only entity struggling to receive their castings and forgings in a timely manner. It remains a choke point for many industries and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Pacer Edge represents a monumental step forward in innovative partnership with industry,” stated John Sneden, Director of Propulsion, USAF. Through this program, our enterprise team will deliver safe and timely propulsion readiness in support of the United States warfighter.”
Lauren Tubesing, Director of Operations, Military Programs at GE Additive, commented, “Public-private initiatives like the recently announced ‘AM Forward’ initiative will also help to address DoD’s sustainment and readiness challenges head on. Strengthening U.S. supply chains, by encouraging small and medium-sized manufacturers across the United States to adopt metal additive technology, will create a nationwide network of qualified Additive Manufacturing suppliers.”