Pratt & Whitney announced at the ongoing Singapore airshow that it will soon start use of a 3D-printed aero-engine component in its commercial engine Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) activities.
Pratt & Whitney’s repair specialist in Singapore, Component Aerospace Singapore is expected to start using the 3D-printed component as part of the repair process by the middle of this year.
Pratt & Whitney’s PW4000 engine which powers, some models of the Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 will find this 3D printed part’s first use, as a component in its fuel system. 3D-printed parts also offer the added advantage of reducing dependency on current material supply from conventional fabrication processes such as forging and casting.
“Thanks to the out-of-the-box thinking by our employees at Component Aerospace Singapore, we are now another step closer to scaling the technology to meet our growing aftermarket operations, and industrializing 3D printing for the industry. This ground breaking innovation is part of the wider technology roadmap by Pratt & Whitney to introduce advanced technologies that integrate artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation across our operations as part of our digital transformation,” said Brendon McWilliam, executive director, Aftermarket Operations, Asia Pacific.
The innovative use of the 3D-printed aero-engine component was the result of an integrative effort between Pratt & Whitney’s engineering experts, its repair specialist Component Aerospace Singapore, in collaboration with the Land Systems arm of ST Engineering.
“3D printing will be a game-changer for the MRO industry worldwide, especially in servicing even more commercial engines. This technology enables greater flexibility in our inventory management. Following this trailblazing initiative, both Pratt & Whitney and ST Engineering will examine how additive manufacturing can be applied for other aviation components and other engine types, and further developed to enable hybrid repairs and realize the full potential of 3D printing for commercial aftermarket operations,” said Chin-Huat Sia, principal engineer, Component Aerospace Singapore.
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