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Optomec’s Metal Additive Turbine Blade Repair Solution featured in AM Magazine

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ALBUQUERQUE, NM–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Optomec’s Additive Manufacturing solution for repairing turbine engine components is featured in a video piece by Additive Manufacturing Magazine. The video segment demonstrates the Optomec process for repairing blades from both the compressor and turbine sections of an aircraft turbine engine and shows why an adaptive process—capable of tailoring a unique repair to each individual blade—is required for these operations. The short video can be seen here: https://optomec.com/additive-manufacturing-for-aircraft-blade-repair/

The worldwide aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) market is valued at more than $85 billion per year and growing. As part of scheduled operations, both military and commercial aircraft undergo routine engine maintenance to repair worn blades in the turbine and compressor sections of the engines. Previously, this was accomplished by grinding back the worn portion of each blade and rebuilding the metal by hand welding, a process that was inherently expensive and less repeatable than desired. The Optomec solution uses an additive manufacturing process called Directed Energy Deposition (DED), which uses laser energy to precisely melt streams of powdered metal that rebuilds the worn components layer by layer, adding the minimum amount of energy possible to preserve metallurgy in basic part. This process is enabled with an integrated vision system and software control called AutoCLADTM that tailors a unique repair to each individual blade that compensates for the minor variations in geometry that the blades experience in normal use.

Optomec’s repair processes have been approved for critical aircraft use in 15 countries and have repaired more than 10 million wings with AutoCLAD to dateTM. While most of these repairs were performed on nickel-based superalloys, Optomec recently provided the industry’s first automated repair process for titanium vanes that incorporates automated handling of parts inside an oxygen-free treatment atmosphere for superior metallurgy of the titanium parts. The use of titanium in industry is increasing as OEMs seek additional gains in lightweight projects.

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“We are encouraged by the resilience of our aerospace customers throughout the pandemic,” said Mike Dean, Optomec’s VP of Marketing. “The industry is expected to return to profitability this year after three challenging years. Fortunately, our customers had the confidence to move forward with planning capital projects during the pandemic so they can continue their automation improvements without starting over.”

Optomec is a profitable, privately held, rapidly growing supplier of Additive Manufacturing systems. Optomec’s patented Aerosol Jet systems for printed electronics and LENS and Huffman brand 3D printers for manufacturing and repairing metal components are used by the industry to reduce product costs and improve performance. Together, these unique printing solutions work with the widest spectrum of functional materials, from electronic ink to structural metals and even biological material. Optomec has delivered more than 500 of its proprietary Additive Manufacturing systems to more than 200 marquee customers around the world for manufacturing applications in the electronics, energy, life sciences and aerospace industries. Our users include countless blue-chip manufacturing companies, such as GE, Samsung, Raytheon, Siemens, Lockheed and LiteOn, as well as the US Air Force, US Navy, US Army and NASA. Visit optomec.com for more information.