It’s no secret that the French know how to take their time and produce a quality product, without ever settling for less. Not only is that an enviable trait to have as a stereotype, it’s certainly a requirement in the aerospace industry — an area where France has substantial acclaim — with aerospace components being the country’s top export industry.
3D printing has been singled out as the new mover and shaker for innovation in aerospace manufacturing. The technology has been streaming through the headlines with news of its offering considerable improvements in many ways over the traditional processes of forging and machining. The main, and enormous, benefits lie in the potential for streamlining and simplification, as well as causing reduction on the bottom line — and deadlines.
French company Turbomeca, based in Bordes, knows their helicopters after 75 years in the business, but more precisely helicopter gas turbines. They are known for producing power civil, parapublic, and defense helicopers that provide excellence in performance, as well as an investment. After years of testing and creating prototypes, they are taking global production of their helicopter and aircraft parts to the next level of quality and innovation with 3D printing.
With components scheduled for manufacturing in their Bordes facility, Turbomeca’s Arrano and Ardiden turboshafts will be comprised of some 3D printed parts. The Arrona test and production engines will contain 3D printed fuel injector nozzles that are able to be made from one piece of material now. The Ardiden 3 will have 3D printed combustor swirlers. One SLM 3D printing machine is already in service and ready for serial production, with more coming down the line, promising exponential speed in manufacturing.
In the end, the team at Turbomeca has one clear goal, and that’s to keep their helicopters flying — with all that entails: excellence in safety, quality, and reliability. Keeping up with the latest technology is crucial as well, with a large force of specialists who help Turbomeca to offer a full range of services, including development of aircraft turbo jet engines, and operation of a subsidiary, Microturbo, specializing in missile turbo-reactors.
Incorporating 3D printing into their manufacturing processes is part of Turbomeca’s ‘Future Line’ program. This program, introducing innovative new tools and processes, is obviously the kind of forward thinking that has given them 75 years of experience and success in the global market. With the Future Line, they plan to incorporate both 3D printing and high velocity oxy-fuel coatings, which will have substantial benefits for compressor and turbine blade manufacturing capabilities.
Have you been following the recent impacts 3D printing is having in the aerospace industry? Tell us what you think of Turbomeca’s latest innovations in manufacturing over in theTurbomeca to Begin 3D Printing Aerospace Components forum at 3DPB.com.