GE Additive announced during the Paris Air Show in June 2019 that GE Aviation has made a significant investment in its Arcam Electron Beam Melting (EBM) technology, purchasing an additional twenty-seven Arcam systems, including seventeen A2X systems and ten Spectra H systems.
Added to the existing fleet of thirty-five Arcam EBM systems in operation at Avio Aero, a GE Aviation company based in Cameri, Italy, the investment brings the total Arcam EBM systems installed at GE Aviation to sixty-two. The additional EBM systems will be installed at GE Aviation and Avio Aero facilities in the US and Europe, where they will be used primarily for the production of titanium aluminide (TiAl) blades on the low-pressure turbine for the GE9X engine.
Additively manufactured TiAl blades are said to be roughly half the weight of traditional nickel-alloy turbine blades. GE Additive’s Arcam EBM A2X machines are capable of producing six blades per batch, while the Spectra H system can produce up to ten blades in around the same time. For the GE9X engine, developed by GE Aviation for Boeing’s new 777X wide-body jet, the weight saving from the TiAl LPT blades is said to contribute to a fuel consumption reduction of 10% (and therefore emissions) compared to its predecessor, the GE90.
“Having a robust and reliable additive technology infrastructure in place is a critical component of the GE9X program,” stated Eric Gatlin, General Manager, Additive Integrated Product Team, GE Aviation. “Avio Aero’s Cameri site has been a great testing ground to see the Arcam EBM machines in action and how they scale. We’re looking forward to continuing the expansion in Cameri and rolling them out to a US location in the coming months.”
Karl Lindblom, General Manager, GE Additive Arcam EBM, commented, “GE Aviation has doubled its fleet of Arcam EBM machines in a relatively short period. We’re thrilled and it’s a great endorsement for our team, for EBM and in particular for the Spectra H.”