Optomec Inc, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, has delivered a multi-functional Additive Manufacturing machine to a leading supplier to the aviation engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) market.
The user is an existing customer with more than five Optomec AM machines currently being used in production to repair a range of turbine components from aircraft engines, as well as industrial gas turbines. The new machine combines two turbine repair process operations that are typically done manually, which is said to not only reduce the cost of engine overhauls, but improve the quality and consistency of these flight-critical procedures.
Optomec’s Directed Energy Deposition (DED)-based metal AM repair solutions are currently used in high-volume production in approximately 100 MRO installations worldwide; together, Optomec users have performed production repairs on more than 10 million components over time.
The global fleet of 25,000 commercial aircraft and 50,000 military aircraft have a mandated time between overhaul (TBO) of around 5,000 flight hours, creating a large and growing demand for automated repair equipment. Optomec AM systems are currently certified for aviation repair in fifteen countries.
“There are really three advantages to using the Optomec AM process for repairing turbine components, “stated Jamie Hanson, VP of Business Development, Optomec. “First of all, it saves time and cost relative to manual repairs. Secondly, it requires far less heat input, so the base metal is far less affected by the repair. Finally, because the adaptive AM process adds less repair metal, the downstream machining costs are drastically reduced.”