June 10, 2015
The aerospace industry continues to innovate, and is moving closer to putting additional 3D-printed metal parts into service in aircraft engines. 3D Systems has announced it would be working with Honeywell International to test a new heat exchanger that would be manufactured using 3D printing.
The $1.3 million contract calls for the use of 3D Systems’ Direct Metal Printing (DMP technology and additive manufacturing expertise from Penn State’s Center or Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D).
Heat exchangers in commercial aircraft take heat from the engine’s oil system and use it to heat cold fuel, which improves fuel efficiency and reduces the risk of freezing in the fuel system components.
The project will launch mid-year, and is administered by America Makes and funded through the Air Force Research Laboratory.
“Additive manufacturing offers design freedoms that are simply not possible using traditional manufacturing processes,” said John Wilczynski, America Makes Deputy Director of Technology Development. “The teaming by America Makes with industry leaders and researchers that possess substantial experience in heat exchangers and 3D printing will allow us to explore higher-performing and lower-cost conformal parts. As a result, both the Air Force and the defense industry are poised to benefit greatly from this directed project.”
The heat exchanger project will also provide evaluation data to all of the other America Makes members (including all of the major defense and aerospace companies), and could help encourage the adoption of 3D Systems’ technology into Honeywell’s supply chain.
In February, 3D Systems announced two related contracts to develop advanced aerospace and defense 3D printing capabilities. The company is working with Honeywell, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin to create a precision closed-loop and advanced manufacturing and monitoring platform to create aerospace parts.
Source: 3D Systems