MTU Aero Engines prioritizes additive manufacturing in new department

German aircraft engine manufacturer MTU Aero Engines has demonstrated its commitment to the future of 3D printing with the launch of a new additive manufacturing department in Munich.

The new facility brings together around 30 professionals in engineering, process, operations and design to a single location, optimizing the company’s additive output.

3D printing for mass manufacturing 

MTU Aero Engines is a primary supplier to U.S. engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney. Earning its place on the additive manufacturing map back in 2013, MTU started development of the 3D printed borescope bosses for the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G-JM turbofan engine, driver of Airbus’s A320neo jetliner.

Five years on and the 3D printed boreoscope bosses are a success, providing Airbus with a number of advantages, e.g. material wastage, complexity, light-weighting, against traditional milling. On average, these parts mass-manufactured at a rate of 16 parts per job, and up to 2,000 parts per year.

By 2030, MTU expects that 15% of parts in the PW1000G-JM engine will be 3D printed.

A 3D printed borescope boss for the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G-JM turbofan engine. Image via MTUA 3D printed borescope boss for the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G-JM turbofan engine. Image via MTU

Additive manufacturing a “top priority�

MTU uses selective laser melting (SLM) technology in collaboration with EOS.

Under the eco-friendly Clean Sky partnership setup by the European Commission and the European aeronautics industry, MTU’s next additive project is to improve the efficiency of a seal carrier.

Components produced under this initiative will have to withstand high pressures, and are tipped to enhance clearance control. The company also aims to improve process monitoring of SLM 3D printing, to give a better surface finish to the parts.

An EOSINT M 280 in use to make borescope bosses at MTU. Photo via EOSAn EOSINT M 280 in use to make borescope bosses at MTU. Photo via EOS

According to Lars Wagner, Chief Operating Officer at MTU, “We are currently pressing on with additive manufacturing, giving its further development top priority in numerous technology projects and technology funding programs.�

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Featured image shows a PW1000G engine in assembly at MTU Aero Engines. Photo via MTU

Startup Uses 3D Printing for Low-cost Carbon Fiber Bike Frames

3d-printed bicyclePrinting out your own bike for $300? This is the future. | Kzenon | Shutterstock.com

This article details news of Arevo Inc.’s 3D-printed carbon-fiber bike frame. It only costs $300 USD to produce it by the way.

The 3D printing world is abuzz with the latest news about Arevo Inc.’s new bicycle.

Sculpteo debuted their concept for a 3D printed bike at CES 2017. It features fully interchangeable parts, and 70% of them are built on the Sculpteo platform.

A German startup took their bikes with 3D-printed tires for a test ride recently. This bike tire supposedly never goes flat — which is totally awesome.

Up to this point, previous 3D-printed have been interesting but impractical. They were a few that looked good, but few could replicate the low weight and durability of carbon fiber.

If you know anything about cycling, you know that carbon fiber is the go-to material road bikes. They’re not as durable as steel, but they weigh a whole lot less. However, it’s basically impossible to repair.

So how did Arevo Inc. develop its $300 USD 3D printed carbon fiber bike frame?

image of 3D-printed carbon fiber commuter bicycle by Arevo Labs for article Startup Uses 3D Printing for Low-cost Carbon Fiber Bike Frames3D-printed carbon fiber commuter bicycle by Arevo Labs via Stephen Lam at Reuters

How Arevo cut Costs and Automated Production

3D printing continues to democratize many industries and biking is next.

Arevo Inc. defied previous 3D printed bicycle fabrications by creating the world’s first carbon fiber bicycle. They hope to use this technology to create bicycle parts, as well as space vehicles, aircraft, and other materials.

They circumvented the often labor-intensive carbon fiber process using a “Deposition head� and a robotic arm. The entire creation process requires little-to-no human labor, keeping costs down to $300 USD per frame.

The head simply laws down various carbon fiber strands, melting the thermoplastic material to bind all of the strands. This all happens in one simple and quick step with no human involvement.

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You can see in this quick video just how labor intensive carbon fiber production is. That makes this breakthrough all the more exciting for bike enthusiasts at any budget.

While it’s not available just yet, the startup has potential partnerships on tap with a few bike manufacturers.

But their goals stretch beyond two wheels since they can “print as big as you want�, says backer Jim Miller.

With backing from the venture capital sect of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Arevo Inc. will surely see success as they continue to produce 3D-printed carbon fiber materials.

How would you spec out your 3D printed carbon fiber frame?

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