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Pratt & Whitney announces first application of 3D-printing for aircraft engine component

Pratt & Whitney: 3D printing

Pratt & Whitney has announced the first application of the use of 3D-printing for an aircraft engine component. The 3D-printed part is projected to be part of the repair process by mid-2020 at Pratt & Whitney’s repair specialist in Singapore, Component Aerospace Singapore.

This innovative approach was the result of an integrated effort between Pratt & Whitney’s engineering experts, its repair specialist Component Aerospace Singapore, in collaboration with the Land Systems arm of ST Engineering, to deliver faster and flexible repair solutions to support Pratt & Whitney engines.

The 3D-printed component taps the production-level 3D capabilities at ST Engineering and strong domain knowledge in metal printing via a controlled process by Pratt & Whitney.

This 3D printed part will first be used in a fuel system component on one of Pratt & Whitney’s engine models. The alternative material solution offers an added advantage of reducing dependency on current material supply from conventional fabrication processes such as forging and casting.

Due to the novelty of the idea, the technical data underpinning the authorised use of the 3D-printed metallic detail in repair, was completed after several rounds of rigorous reviews and discussions.

The subsequent dataset was a result of a comprehensive review of the data by all three parties collaboratively, in the course of exploring the requirements and limitations of existing aviation regulations and 3D printers at ST Engineering.

Pratt & Whitney’s engineering team extended ST Engineering’s application of the 3D-printing methods for ground transport systems to produce the component for the Pratt & Whitney engine.

Both organisations worked closely to ensure that in-house quality and process systems are certified to Pratt & Whitney’s requirements for aftermarket applications.

This innovation is part of a wider technology roadmap by Pratt & Whitney to introduce advanced technologies that integrate artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation across its operations

The premise of additive manufacturing or 3D printing is built on the ability to produce parts on demand and to complex specifications.

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