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GE Aviation installing five AM systems to facilitate serial large-part production

GE Aviation is installing five GE Additive Concept Laser M Line systems this year. 

The first four M Line systems will be installed at GE Aviation’s Additive Technology Center (ATC) in West Chester, Ohio, while the fifth will be installed at Avio Aero’s Turin site in Italy to support serial production of additive components for the firm’s Catalyst turboprop engine.

Throughout M Line’s three-year maturation phase, GE Additive has worked collaboratively with GE Aviation and a small cohort of other aerospace and medical sector customers who are already in serial additive production to rigorously beta test the M Line system.

This phase has resulted in more than 300 design improvements with additional safety and software features incorporated into the system, as requirements have changed in response to the more rigorous demands of customers aiming to move into additive serial production.

Continuous improvement and input from GE Aviation informed the most critical and fundamental change to the system – an increase to the build envelope by 54 per cent to 500mm x 500mm x 400mm – to enable progression to the serial production of larger additive parts.

'The time and work we have collectively invested with our GE Additive colleagues to define, shape and then iron out the specification and functionality of the M Line means we now have a scalable solution that can build large components in a high-volume production environment, while meeting our cost entitlement goals,' said Chris Philp, site leader for GE Aviation’s ATC. 'We are continually developing more additive content for new engines, and the size and complexity of the parts increases with every generation of products developed.’

Once installed at the ATC site, two M Line systems will be dedicated to aluminium alloy, and one each of the two other systems to cobalt chrome and nickel alloy 718, adding additional manufacturing capacity to GE Aviation’s existing additive infrastructure in its state-of-the-art development facility.

'Our goal is to realise the aviation additive industry’s first automation-ready production environment,' said Benito Trevino, general manager of GE Aviation’s additive integrated product team. 'Once installed, we envisage that our multi-machine approach, with the M Line platform at the heart of production, will help us reduce our lead and print times by over 50 per cent.'

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