Optomec was awarded a $ 500,000 process development contract by the Air Force Sustainment Center for the “additive repair” of jet engine components used in the F-15 and F-16 fighters.
The company will exploit its LENS metal additive manufacturing method based on powder-fed directed energy deposition and combine it with advanced vision and distortion compensation software, controlled atmosphere processing and batch automation using manipulation. of oxygen-free materials.
With this group of technologies, Optomec will focus on the development of optimized process parameters and procedures for repairing turbine blades made from titanium and nickel based superalloys. This effort will see the implementation of printable “recipes” and “libraries” in conjunction with the delivery of an automated turbine blade repair machine, with ROI projections of 184% and a payback period. less than two years old. This, according to the Air Force, could save “several million dollars” by maintaining its fleet of more than 5,000 planes, which have an average age of 28 years.
Optomec’s DED additive manufacturing technology has been used to refurbish more than 10 million turbine blades, according to the company, and the contract will expand its relationship with the military after winning a contract for 1 million. dollars with the US Air Force last year.
“The turbine industry has already widely adopted Optomec’s automated DED solution for high volume nickel alloy repair of aircraft parts; During this time, Optomec developed the process recipes for titanium repair, ”commented Jamie Hanson, vice president of business development at Optomec. “This solution essentially takes Optomec’s titanium repair process to high volume levels where it will have a major impact on reducing maintenance costs as engine builders increasingly use titanium.”
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