Avio Aero & GE Additive partner with BEAMIT to develop post-processing tech for 3D printed aerospace engine parts

Avio Aero and GE Additive have signed a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) with BEAMIT to collaborate on technology development relating to the post-processing of 3D printed parts for the GE9X and the Catalyst engines.

BEAMIT is a longstanding GE Additive customer, operating a range of Concept Laser and Arcam EBM metal 3D printing systems, including the M2, X Line and Q10plus machines, to serve customers in the aerospace, defence and medical sectors. Avio Aero, meanwhile, has been responsible for the additive manufacture of turbine blades for the GE9X engine, which last year received FAA certification. Through this LOI, the intention is for GE Additive and BEAMIT to work together to develop ‘special post-processing machinery and technologies, as well as materials, to meet the long-term production needs’ of its GE9X and Catalyst engines.

The LOI will be based on assessments of post-processing technologies for the requirements of certain GE9X and Catalyst engine components like MRI and tomographic inspection, HIP and machining equipment. BEAMIT will look to reduce the lead times involved with building parts, as well as the machining and testing processes, while also supporting new modalities under development at Avio Aero with ‘super-cleaning and super-finishing surfaces.’ The Italian service provider will also work to fine-tune and qualify GE Additive’s M Line for aerospace parts in accordance with the necessary qualitative requirements, as well as obtaining an aerospace qualification for a dedicated R&D division that is yet to be established.

As the alliance grows in the mid-term future, there is the intention for BEAMIT to further expand its operations and develop a digitalised and sustainable production line dedicated to the production of engine ready components. BEAMIT has also recently opened a facility dedicated to coatings, which will also support the LOI efforts.

“Industrialising metal additive manufacturing in aerospace continues at pace and we need trusted partners in our ecosystem who can grow with us,” commented Riccardo Procacci, CEO of Avio Aero and GE Additive. “I am thrilled that we are strengthening our relationship with BEAMIT and its shareholder Sandvik. BEAMIT’s sound strategic vision and the wider team’s advanced additive expertise is world-class.”

“It is an honour for me to enter into this LOI with GE for projects if this magnitude,” offered BEAMIT President Mauro Antolotti. “Being where we are today, as one of the largest, most integrated and advanced additive manufacturing groups in the world, we are in a position to offer leading capabilities across the entire AM value chain, also through our shareholder Sandvik’s leading material expertise and extensive metal powder capabilities. This definitely confirms the hard work that started seven years ago as a vision, and has been pursued with great commitment and strength.”

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