With day two of the Paris Air Show underway, it is becoming clear that there is a significant emphasis on additive manufacturing at the event, with aerospace companies further investing in 3D printing or partnering with AM leaders. Recently, France-based aerospace and defense company Safran has unveiled the Add+ engine technological demonstrator, which is made up of 30% 3D printed components.
The engine demonstrator, which has been in development since early 2018, is the result of a collaborative project between a number of Safran companies. The Add+ engine demonstrator’s design is based on an Arrius helicopter engine that has been updated and partially redesigned with 3D printed components.
Specifically, Safran has leveraged selective laser melting (SLM) processes to produce a number of parts for the technological engine demonstrator, including nozzle guide vanes, combustion chamber and stator rear module. The technology has played an important role in consolidating engine parts, bringing the overall part count down significantly. According to Safran, for instance, a gearbox casing originally made from 12 parts is now printed from two.
“Add+ brings together 3D printing expertise from across the Safran group,” commented Etienne Hesse, R&T Project Manager and Add+ program coordinator at Safran Helicopter Engines. “We started work on an existing engine model and redesigned almost 30 % of its components using additive manufacturing techniques, with a view to integrating those components into serial production units. When we start ground runs, we will evaluate behavior of these new parts in operation.”
Ultimately, the Add+ engine demonstrator is expected to pave the way for Safran to integrate metal additive manufacturing into its production methods for other engines. Presently, the Safran team is completing the assembly of the partially 3D printed engine, which is scheduled for ground-running next autumn.
The Add+ 3D printed engine demonstrator is being developed and built at Safran’s facility in Bordes, France and has relied on the additive manufacturing expertise from the company’s Bordes, Saclay and Corbeil locations. In other news, Safran Landing Systems announced a partnership with Canada’s Burloak Technologies to jointly develop 3D printed aircraft landing gear components.