Pratt & Whitney, an aerospace manufacturer and division of United Technologies Corp., will use an additively manufactured aero-engine component for the first time in its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of commercial engines. The AM component is anticipated to be part of the repair process by mid-2020 at Pratt & Whitney’s repair specialist in Singapore, Component Aerospace Singapore.
The use of Additive Manufacturing is the result of a collaborative effort by the company’s engineering experts, Component Aerospace Singapore, and the Land Systems division of ST Engineering, Singapore, to deliver faster and flexible repair solutions to support Pratt & Whitney engines.
Pratt & Whitney states that the part will first be used in a fuel system component on one of its engine models. The alternative material solution is believed to reduce dependency on current material supply from conventional fabrication processes such as forging and casting.
“Thanks to the out-of-the-box thinking by our employees at Component Aerospace Singapore, we are now another step closer to scaling the technology to meet our growing aftermarket operations, and industrialising 3D printing for the industry,” commented Brendon McWilliam, Executive Director, Aftermarket Operations, Asia Pacific.
“This groundbreaking innovation is part of the wider technology roadmap by Pratt & Whitney to introduce advanced technologies that integrate artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation across our operations as part of our digital transformation. We are well-placed to better meet today’s demands and anticipate tomorrow’s customer needs, without compromising our high standards of quality and reliability.”
Chin-Huat Sia, principal engineer, Component Aerospace Singapore, stated, “3D printing will be a game-changer for the MRO industry worldwide, especially in servicing even more commercial engines. This technology enables greater flexibility in our inventory management.”
Huat Sia added, “Following this trailblazing initiative, both Pratt & Whitney and ST Engineering will examine how additive manufacturing can be applied for other aviation components and other engine types, and further developed to enable hybrid repairs and realize the full potential of 3D printing for commercial aftermarket operations.”
According to Pratt & Whitney, its engineering team extended ST Engineering’s application of the Additive Manufacturing methods for ground transport systems to produce the aero-engine component. Both organisations worked closely to ensure that in-house quality and process systems are certified to Pratt & Whitney’s requirements for aftermarket applications.
“To 3D print an aero-engine component for a working air turbine engine is a first for us,” explained Tan Chor Kiat, Senior Vice President, Kinetics Design & Manufacturing, ST Engineering. “This also demonstrates our advanced capability to offer a full turnkey manufacturing solution which not only includes production-level 3D printing, but also post-processes such as heat treatment and machining. Our customers expect high standards of quality from us.”
He continued, “For this project, we are able to deliver an aerospace component that meets not only the high-quality standards required but also the stringent requirements by the aviation authorities,” said Tan Chor Kiat, senior vice president, Kinetics Design & Manufacturing, ST Engineering.”