GE Begins Output of 3D Printed Fuel Nozzle Interiors

GE Begins Output of 3D Printed Fuel Nozzle Interiors

Jan 5, 2016

By Bill Koenig, Manufacturing Engineering

General Electric Co. has begun producing 3D printed fuel nozzle interiors at a factory in Auburn, AL, a spokesman said.

“Machines have been qualified and low-rate production of the fuel nozzle tips in Auburn, using additive machines, is underway,” Rick Kennedy, the GE spokesman, said in an e-mail this week.

GE announced the project in July 2014. At the time, GE said production would begin this year, without being more specific. In September, Mike Cloran, marketing communications lead for GE additive manufacturing in Cincinnati, said in a September e-mail the production start would be in the fourth quarter.

“Production is underway at the Auburn plant as scheduled,” Cloran said in a separate e-mail this week.

The aerospace industry is looking to 3D printing as a way to produce parts with intricate shapes while being more efficient with metals such as titanium. With traditional manufacturing, as much as 95% of metal is cut away while machining some aerospace parts.

Aerospace companies say additive manufacturing can reduce waste to 5% to 10%. 3D printing also makes new designs possible that can’t be done with traditional methods.

The GE fuel nozzle interiors will be produced as a single part instead of 20. The component will be on the LEAP jet engine that is to enter airline service in 2016 and will power the Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and COMAC (China) C919 aircraft. The LEAP engine is being developed by CFM International, a joint venture of GE and Snecma of France.

GE opened the Auburn plant in 2013. The company said last year the 3D printed fuel nozzles would be added to the facility. GE has said the 3D printing operation may occupy a third of the factory when it reaches full production later this decade.

 

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