Turbine Component Rapid Manufacturing via Electron Beam Melting/Electrochemical Machining
Development of new, more efficient gas turbine engines is a lengthy process of engine test iterations to maximize performance. This engine development cycle time is driven to a large extent by the manufacturing process used to produce the engine hot section turbine components. Barber-Nichols Inc. (BNI) proposes combining a newly developing rapid manufacturing process technology Electron Beam Melting (EBM) with Electro Chemical Machining (ECM) to reduce manufacturing cycle time and cost by replacing the existing investment casting and/or multi-axis machining methods used to produce turbine nozzles, blades and blisks. Successfully combining the near-net shape rapid manufacturing EBM process with the rapid removal rate afforded by the ECM process in relevant high temperature superalloys such as Inconel 625 or MAR-M-247 would enable manufacturing cycle time reductions of critical turbine components by a year or more and at a lower cost. During Phase I, BNI with support from Teledyne Brown Engineering, will demonstrate feasibility by rapidly manufacturing representative high-quality, dimensionally-accurate turbine blade geometries and internal cooling passages in both Inconel 625 and MAR-M-247 materials. Also during Phase I, verification of elevated temperature material tensile properties will give confidence that more extensive material tests in Phase II will enable usage of the EBM/ECM process for the rapid manufacture of turbine components to be tested at the end of Phase II in a representative gas turbine engine. Upon successful completion of Phase II, commercialization of the EBM/ECM process will begin to gain acceptance by gas turbine manufacturers with the utilization of EBM/ECM as a means to reduce development cycle time and cost of new, more efficient industrial gas turbine engines. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The benefits of the EBM/ECM process will span across all industries including medical, aerospace and others that require casting of parts during development and/or require limited production. The process provides a low-cost, rapid manufacturing alternative to casting and machining of complex parts in a broad range of structural metals.
Small Business Information at Submission:
6325 West 55th Avenue Arvada, CO 80002-2777
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