Optomec delivered a multi-functional metal additive-manufacturing (AM) machine to a supplier to the aviation engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) market. The machine combines two turbine repair process operations that are typically done manually, which not only reduces the cost of engine overhauls but also improves the quality and consistency of these flight-critical procedures. Optomec’s metal AM machines use a process called directed energy deposition (DED) to build 3D metal parts by depositing powdered metal into a precisely controlled pool of melted metal. Fiber-optic lasers supply the thermal power, while advanced motion-control systems produce the required geometries for the parts. This proprietary process precisely adds metal to worn engine components, restoring them to the geometric specifications set by the original manufacturers.
According to Albuquerque, N.M.-based Optomec, a single machine has the capacity to repair 10,000 turbine blades annually. The customer currently has five Optomec metal AM systems being used in production to repair a range of turbine components from aircraft engines, as well as industrial gas turbines.