GE Aviation successfully test fired its Advanced Turboprop Engine or ATP. Consisting mostly of 3D-printed parts printed from advanced alloys, it is the first civilian turboprop engine. The use of 3D printing and other new technologies allowed GE to combine 855 separate components into just 12 thereby making the engine lighter, and more fuel efficient.
The use of 3D printed parts and other new technologies has shaved more than 100 pounds from the weight of the engine and improved fuel efficiency by as much as 20 percent. It has also added 10 percent more power and simplified maintenance of the engine for the company.
Speaking about the success of the project, Paul Corkery, General Manager of the Advanced Turboprop program, said, “This is a pivotal moment. We now have a working engine. We are moving from design and development to the next phase of the program ending with certification”.
The engine will be used in Textron’s Cessna Denali. It will be the first plane to use the engine. As a plan for the future, GE aims to build 12 ATP test vehicles and test them in different test cells across Europe and Canada. Over the next two years, the company also plans to perform a battery of tests before sending the engine to government authorities to receive certification for use in passenger flights. The tests mainly include performance and high-vibration testing.
Source: GE Reports