GE Aviation and Sigma Labs have joined together to create and implement “In-Process Inspection Technology” to improve 3D printing speeds.
With GE ramping up its use of 3D printing technologies in the production of jet components, decreased print and inspection times will be critical to the success of GE’s venture. As outlined in their plan, GE and Sigma Labs are looking to increase 3D printing production speeds by 25 percent.
According to Greg Morris, GE Aviation's business development leader for AM, "Today, post-build inspection procedures account for as much as 25 percent of the time required to produce an additively manufactured engine component." Morris continued, “"By conducting those inspection procedures while the component is being built, GE Aviation and Sigma labs will expedite production rates for GE's additive manufactured engine components like the LEAP fuel nozzle."
In what may have been considered wide-eyed optimism only a few years ago, GE has dedicated itself to produce over 100,000 3D printed components for their LEAP and GE9X jet engines by the year 2020. Each engine will contain 19 3D-printed fuel nozzles, each of which will be 25 percent lighter and 5 time more efficient than conventionally manufactured nozzles.
The Sigma Labs and GE Aviation partnership marks another step forward in the development of 3D printing as viable end product production technique. As the years move forward, and high-profile companies like GE begin to showcase 3D printed components in their flagship products, the technology is sure to see wider adoption across industry.
Image Courtesy of GE Aviation