GE Additive and GE Aviation have received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ‘change in design’ approval to replace a conventionally manufactured power door opening system (PDOS) bracket, used on GE Aviation’s GEnx-2B commercial airline engines, with an additively manufactured bracket.
The new additively manufactured PDOS brackets, which are used on the ground to open and close the fan cowl doors to enable access to the fan compartment for maintenance, will be mass produced at GE Aviation’s facility in Auburn, Alabama, using GE Additive Concept Laser M2 cusing Multilaser machines this month.
The original PDOS brackets on the GEnx-2B engines, which power the Boeing 747-8, were milled from a solid block of metal, resulting in approximately 50 percent of material waste. With an improved design and using metal 3D printing in cobalt chrome, that waste has been reduced by as much as 90% and part weight by 10%.
“We chose this project because it represented several firsts for us,” said Eric Gatlin, general manager, additive integrated product team, GE Aviation. “It’s the first program we certified on a Concept Laser machine. It’s also the first project we took from design to production in less than ten months.”
Four brackets will be printed during each build using an interlocking design which means an aircraft’s worth of brackets can be printed in a single build. GE Aviation anticipates the first GEnx engines installed with the new brackets will be shipped in January 2019.
Gatlin added, “To ensure the M2 cusing machines were certified to meet the strict requirements for the aerospace industry, collaboration on this program has been closer than usual with our colleagues at GE Additive. As we continue thinking about the many parts we can design, redesign and manufacture on GE Additive machines, I’m looking forward to putting both our teams and the technology through their paces.”