GE Aviation has received Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) approval from the US Air Force (USAF) for an F110 additively manufactured sump cover.
The latest milestone in the USAF and GE’s pathfinder Pacer Edge program, the F110 component is the first engine component designed for and produced by metal additive manufacturing to be qualified by any US Department of Defense entity.
“Much like the GE90 T25 sensor that was an FAA certification pathfinder for metal additive manufacturing for GE Aviation in commercial aerospace, the F110 sump cover sets a solid foundation for many more additively manufactured component qualifications with GE’s military customers,” said Matt Szolwinski, chief engineer and leader of GE’s Large Military Engineering team.
“The Pacer Edge program is an important initiative for reducing risk and showcasing the application of additive manufacturing in aerospace. The ability to additively manufacture an aircraft engine part and gain military airworthiness is a significant step forward in growing the adoption of additive manufacturing in the Air Force,” said Nathan Parker, deputy program executive officer for the USAF RSO.
“The Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., has challenged us to ‘accelerate change or lose.’ The entire Pacer Edge process is built around the ‘accelerate change’ philosophy, and the speed of the F110 sump cover development and airworthiness approval is evidence of that. The capability that Pacer Edge is demonstrating and proving will be a game changer to engine production and sustainment and will resolve many future Air Force readiness challenges,” said John Sneden, director of the USAF’s Directorate of Propulsion.
Phase 1b is underway and focuses on an out-of-production sump cover housing on the TF34 engine, which has been in service more than 40 years.
“We’re thrilled to be on this journey with USAF. Additive journeys are great, but even better when you have a good map and experienced guides. We started with a relatively easy part, but the spiral development model is coming into its own. It provides focus for the team and our experts help navigate and problem solve along the way,” said Lisa Coroa-Bockley, general manager for GE’s Advanced Materials Solutions.
A digital thread also runs through the pathfinder. GE experts focused on digital twinning, maintenance-based predictive analytics and part lifecycle management expertise have been able to complement the USAF’s digital engineering strategy and in-house knowledge.
“Subsequent phases of the Pacer Edge program involves the establishment of a metal additive manufacturing supply chain at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, capable of producing airworthy components in support of the DoD’s sustainment needs,” said Lauren Tubesing, director – military accounts at GE Additive.
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