Turbomeca, one of the world’s leading helicopter engine manufacturers, has begun using metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) for serial production of engine components at its facility in Bordes, France.
The company has announced that it is using Selective Laser Melting (SLM) to manufacture fuel injector nozzles for its Arrano engines and combustor swirlers for use in its Ardiden 3 engines. These engines are Turbomeca’s latest models and are claimed to be amongst the most advanced turboshafts ever designed.
“After years of maturation and prototype testing, Turbomeca has entered serial production of parts using the latest additive manufacturing, or 3D printing process,” the company stated in its press release. “The Bordes facility is one of the first of its kind to serial produce additive components for aerospace propulsion industry in France.”
The SLM Additive Manufacturing process used by Turbomeca builds the components in layers of between 20 and 100-micrometers thick from fine nickel-based super-alloy powder.
Additive Manufacturing has also helped simplify the manufacturing process. A traditional fuel-injector nozzle is made up from many different pieces, however the Arrano component is made from one single piece of material and features advanced injection and cooling functions.
Turbomeca, a member of the Safran Aerospace, Defence and Security Group, currently has one SLM machine in service and qualified for mass production at its Bordes site, but plans for others to be integrated over the coming years.
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