If there was any doubt that 3D printing has made it into mainstream industrial manufacturing, manufacturer of helicopter parts Turbomeca has proven it once again with a new 3D printing facility, where it will be producing fuel-injector nozzles for its Arrano helicopter engines.
The new facility in Bordes, France will be utilizing selective laser melting (SLM) to fabricate these nozzles both for their Arrano test engines, and their production engines. The process is capable of melting layers as fine as 100 micrometres thick. And, using a nickel-based super-alloy powder, the company suggests that their fuel injector nozzles will be able to exhibit advanced injection an cooling fucntions, thanks to the ability to fabricate the parts as single, complex pieces.
The facility is part of an expansion of Turbomeca’s Future Line program, meant to bring the company up to date in terms of manufacturing capabilities. In addition to the fuel nozzles, the parts maker will also be 3D printing Ardiden 3 combustor swirlers, while implementing new high velocity oxy-fuel coatings to enhance the compressor and turbine blade manufacturing that takes place at Bordes.
While 3D printing is neither new to Turbomeca, or the helicopter industry as a whole, the ability to create complex, high-performance parts with 3D printing further validates its use in high-stakes industries, like aerospace.