British engineering company Renishaw has announced its metal 3D printers will help develop high-speed turbine blades for the aerospace industry. Through Spanish subsidiary Renishaw Ibérica, the British company will join a number of Spanish engineering enterprises on the Futuralve project. The project also includes engine manufacturer ITP.
Renishaw will combine its metrology heritage with its additive manufacturing expertise.
The 4-year Futuralve project is funded by the Spanish Government’s Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI). It aims to develop new technologies for high-speed aerospace turbines. Renishaw’s will 3D print the high-performance lightweight parts and also provide the technology to measure and qualify the components.
Renishaw will be working at the Centre for Advanced Aerospace Technologies (CATEC) in Seville which, as revealed earlier this year, has acquired a Renishaw RenAM 500M metal 3D printer. Dr Marc Gardon, PhD of Material Science in Renishaw Ibérica, explains the purpose of the research and how Renishaw will develop components for comparison with traditional manufacturing methods. He says,
High performance components within aerospace turbines require materials able to maintain excellent mechanical properties in very aggressive environments. In this framework, nickel based super-alloys that are manufactured from subtractive machining have certain design limitations, which may hinder the overall efficiency of the engine/system. Therefore, a convenient scenario is identified for additive manufacturing, where complex geometries unreachable by conventional procedures could be manufactured.
Additive and metrology
Since additive manufacturing is a relatively new technology, the process for qualifying and certifying parts can be more stringent. For industries such as aerospace, the need for validation is even more important. It is therefore beneficial that Renishaw will also bring measuring tools to the table and Renishaw Ibérica´s Managing Director, Víctor Escobar explains,
The Futuralve project, as well as incorporating our coordinate measuring machine and additive manufacturing products, will utilise Renishaw´s innovative on-machine tool contact system SPRINT. SPRINT significantly increases the number of scanned points on parts manufactured or repaired in a way that allows a more precise machining and a reduction of measurement times.
The British engineering company has also recently updated its QuantAM metal additive manufacturing software to provide more control over the printing process.
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Featured image shows Renishaw’s REVO system analyzing a turbine blade. Image via Renishaw.