Metallic And Ceramic Parts To Be Fabricated Using Additive Manufacturing
Rolls-Royce appears to be ready to push the envelope on a process called additive manufacturing ... or more popularly 3-D printing ... to produce metallic and ceramic parts used in its jet engines.
The company plans to use the technique to fabricate brackets and fuel nozzles for the powerplants. The process can make lightweight parts for the engines reducing the overall weight of an airplane. It is not known if the company plans to experiment with using the process to fabricate compressor blades or other components of the engines.
The blog 3D Printer Plans cites an article in The Financial Times in which Rolls-Royce head of technology strategy Dr. Henner Wapenhans says that the company is "just a few years away" from incorporating parts manufactured by the process in its products. “3D printing opens up new possibilities, new design space,” Dr Wapenhans said. “Through the 3D printing process, you’re not constrained by having to get a tool in to create a shape. You can create any shape you like.”
Rolls-Royce is not the only engine manufacturer to explore the process. According to the blog, General Electric is planning to fabricate 85,000 fuel nozzles for its latest jet engine.