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Indian Scientists Repair Aero-Engine Components with DED 3D Printing

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Directed Energy Deposition 3D printing
Above: International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials campus/Image Source: ARCI

Scientists from the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials (ARCI), revealed that they have successfully managed to repair aero-engine components through Directed Energy Deposition (DED) 3D printing technology. The team of scientists found out that the technology significantly reduced repair costs and overhaul time.

The scientists indigenously prepared the powders suitable for the DED 3D printing process.

Repairs through DED 3D Printing

Directed Energy Deposition 3D printing process
Above: Jet Engine/Image for representation purpose

Ni-based superalloys are widely used in aero-engine components, but despite having exceptional properties, they are prone to damage due to extreme operational conditions. Manufacturing defects during the casting or machining process are another major cause of rejection, and tons of such unused components are scrapped due to minor defects.

The press release shared by ARCI mentioned that, “A team of scientists from the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials indigenously developed powders suitable for additive manufacturing using inert gas atomiser available at the ARCI by melting unused scrap material. Utilising this, the ARCI is developing the Laser-DED 3D printing process for the repair of aero-engine components made of Ni-based superalloy.”

The team of an ARCI, an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology, developed a technology to refurbish pinion housing assembly, which is a critical component in helicopters used for power transmission to the main fan, by machining out the damaged layer and rebuilding it using laser DED 3D printing process followed by final machining. A patent has been filed for the same.

A post-clad heat treatment method was also designed to minimise microstructural inhomogeneity and ensure minimal substrate properties variation. These laser-clad repaired prototypes were found to be free from distortion and exhibited excellent performance. The team has also developed repair and refurbishment technologies for other industrial sectors, such as refurbishing diesel engine cylinder heads made of grey cast iron and refurbishing shafts used in refineries.

This work has been published in the journal “Transactions of The Indian Institute of Metals‘.

The impact of repair and refurbishment technology developed by the ARCI can, therefore, be best realised in the aerospace sector due to expensive materials, manufacturing costs, and stringent quality checks.

Source: Economic Times

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Abhimanyu Chavan is the founder of Manufactur3D Magazine. He writes on Additive Manufacturing technology, interviews industry leaders, shares industry insights, and expresses his thoughts on the latest developments in the industry. You can follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
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