GE Aviation’s First 3D Printed Engine Component For GE 90 Engine

The GE90 turbofan became the first GE engine to utilize an additive-manufactured component.

The GE90 turbofan is the now the first GE engine to incorporate an additive-manufactured component.  The AM component is an engine sensor housing for the T25 sensor.  

In the GE90-94B, the T-25 measures pressure and temperature for the engine’s control system.  After the FAA certified the sensor in February, engineers began retrofitting the T25 sensor into over 400 GE90-94B engines already in service. Located in the inlet to the high-pressure compressor, the new shape of the housing is made from a cobalt-chrome alloy and is located in the inlet to the high pressure compressor.  According to GE, the housing component protects the sensor’s electronics from icing and airflow, improving potential protection from damage.

Bill Millhaem, general manager of the GE90/GE9X engine program at GE Aviation said, “Additive manufacturing has allowed GE engineers to quickly change the geometry through rapid prototyping and producing production parts, saving months of traditional cycle time for the T25 sensor housing without impacting the sensor’s capabilities.”

We can expect to see GE using additive manufacturing in a few of their future engines, which are currently under development.  In fact, GE Aviation plans to produce part of the fuel nozzles for the LEAP engine for Boeing 737 Max and Airbus A320neo using metal AM,  as well as on the GE9X for the Boeing 777X.  

Metal AM removes complexity and waste from parts with complex geometries that would be difficult or impossible to build using traditional machining techniques. In the coming years, additive manufactured components will continue to reduce part counts by replacing assemblies with single components, which will help reduce weight and material cost while increasing fuel efficiencies of engines ready for flight.