GE Aviation receives Air Force airworthiness qualification »3dpbm
GE Aviation has received US Air Force (USAF) Technical Change Proposal (ECP) approval for an additively manufactured F110 crankcase cover. The latest milestone in the USAF and GE Pathfinder Pacer Edge program, this F110 component is the first engine component designed and produced by metal additive manufacturing to be qualified by a US Department of Defense entity.
“The Pacer Edge program is an important initiative to reduce risk and showcase the application of additive manufacturing in aerospace. The ability to additively manufacture an aircraft engine part and achieve military airworthiness is an important step forward in adopting additive manufacturing in the Air Force, ”said Nathan Parker, USAF RSO Deputy Program Director General.
The airworthiness qualification of the sump cover brings the pathfinder’s Pacer Edge Phase 1a to its conclusion. Part of the key to accelerating qualification, in less than a year, has been GE’s decade of engineering and manufacturing expertise in metal additives. The team’s in-depth knowledge of commercial aerospace engine airworthiness for in-flight 3D printed metal parts is instrumental in helping the USAF establish its own robust process validation and certification processes for airworthiness. military.
“Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. challenged us to ‘accelerate change or lose.’ The entire Pacer Edge process is built around the ‘accelerate change’ philosophy, and the speed of F110 sump cover development and airworthiness approval is proof of that. The capability that Pacer Edge demonstrates and proves will be a game-changer for engine production and sustainment and will solve many future Air Force readiness challenges, ”said John Sneden, director of the Propulsion Directorate of the Air Force. ‘USAF.
Close collaboration and knowledge sharing enhanced the USAF spiral development approach of continuously identifying, reverse engineering and developing technical data sets (TDPs) for increasingly complex and bulky parts. suitable for metal additive manufacturing.
“Much like the GE90 T25 sensor which was a precursor to the FAA certification for metal additive manufacturing for GE Aviation in commercial aerospace, the F110 crankcase cover establishes a solid foundation for many other qualifications of additively manufactured components with GE’s military customers, “said Matt Szolwinski, chief engineer and head of GE’s large military engineering team,” The USAF’s strong vision for the additive as part of its broader sustainability strategy. power and preparation has enabled our combined team to progress at great speed. We continue to share our learnings and have developed an efficient and structured working method, in particular to develop qualification processes and accelerate design iterations. This lean operational efficiency is already producing results and is now preparing us for the next phases of the program, notably by examining complex and large load-bearing structures, ”Szolwinski added.
Phase 1b is already underway and focuses on a non-production crankcase on the TF34 engine, which has been in service for over 40 years.
“We are delighted to be making this trip with the USAF. Add-on trips are great, but even better when you have a good map and experienced guides. We started off with a relatively easy part, but the spiral development model really makes sense. It provides a focus for the team and our experts help navigate and resolve issues along the way, ”said Lisa Coroa-Bockley, Managing Director of Advanced Materials Solutions at GE,“ Human Interaction and Collaboration add immense value to our work, but the facilitator. The additive is a powerful digital technology that covers the entire process, from design and modeling, to in situ monitoring, to final level inspection and assurance. The addition of digital twinning and predictive analytics opens up new horizons, such as systems management, diagnostics and system repair in the field, added Coroa-Bockley.
A digital wire also runs through the pathfinder. GE experts focused on digital matchmaking, maintenance-based predictive analytics and parts lifecycle management expertise were able to complement USAF’s digital engineering strategy and in-house insights .
“Subsequent phases of the Pacer Edge program involve the establishment of a metal additive manufacturing supply chain at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma capable of producing airworthy components to meet the sustainment needs of the DoD, “said Lauren Tubesing, director of military accounts at GE Additive.
Recently, the Directorate of Air Force Propulsion and RSO invested $ 10 million to fund additional phases of the Pacer Edge program, leveraging the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Captains of Industry contract vehicle. This funding will accelerate the development of the USAF’s organic AM capability and its ability to design and print airworthy material for military engines, aircraft and support equipment. The Pacer Edge team uses this capability to alleviate the constraints of hard-to-find and obsolete replacement parts for existing systems.
“The F110 sump cover was a great scout, allowing us to exercise the USAF airworthiness process. There are many parts in the queue which are ideal candidates for metal 3D printing. Then we focus on improving the airworthiness process, so that it is as responsive as the technology, ”said Melanie Jonason, chief engineer of the USAF Propulsion Sustainment division.