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Finding a Home for 3D Printing in Manufacturing – ENGINEERING.com

by • July 4, 2016 • No Comments

A 3D-printed wrench turn it intod of flexible TPU filament. (Image courtesy of Creative Tools.)A 3D-printed wrench turn it intod of flexible TPU filament. (Image courtesy of Creative Tools.) Despite its good results in prototyping, 3D printing is yet quite much the new kid on the block in building. This adolescent innovation is yet attempting to find a niche amongst its older, faster siblings, like CNC machining and injection molding.
This say of affairs has raised many significant but as-yet-unanswered inquiries:
Will 3D printing unlock true on-demand building?
Can additive building alone donate finished parts?
How do we move of metal rapid prototyping to metal additive building?
All of these inquiries share a common presumption: the next of 3D printing lies in production, whether that means creating finished parts or near net shapes.
But what if 3D printing equipment have a various role to play on the shop floor?

3D Printing in Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul
The CFM LEAP engine has become the posterchild for additive building, and its 3D-printed fuel nozzle is many most likely one of the many photographed parts at any time turn it intod. The initially engines were donateed to Airbus only a few months ago, that means that companies planning to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for these engines are may already tooling up.
In a new interview with Aviation Week, representatives of one such company, Rhinestahl, hinted at the possibility of via 3D-printed tools to maintain the LEAP engines.
A technician works on a GE90 engine. (Image courtesy of GE Aviation.)A technician works on a GE90 engine. (Image courtesy of GE Aviation.) “There are a few tools where 3D printing is an versional method for building; I don’t ponder there are many,” said Dan Hudepohl, CFM56 and CFM LEAP technical program manager. “I’ve seen it on a few drawings where, if you have the capability, you can 3D print them, but you can in addition manufacture them with molds or howat any time it calls out. They’re starting to incorporate various building capabilities as things evolve.”
“I’m not certain of the line-maintenance fold, but there have been a handful of tools that have components that have a 3D printing version for the manufacturer,” introduced engineering assist leader Bob Dehner. “The one thing I’ve seen may be additional use of aluminum and a few plastics. Basically, both GE and [Safran Engine] are attempting to manufacture tools as light as possible to reduce the mass for ergonomic considerations.”
Of course, the advantages of 3D printing go beyond building additional ergonomic tools. MRO companies can in addition use the innovation to turn it into spare parts on demand, allowing them to respond to emergency situations rapidly without having to maintain sizeable inventories of spare parts.
That’s one reason for the interest in via additive building on the ISS, that may soon see an influx of 3D printing equipment specifically created for off-world use.
This strategy is not only for aerospace applications, either. Audi has been via 3D printing in its tool create for a few time now:

“[3D printing] empowers us to create parts faster and additional cost-effectively,” said Michael Breme, head of Audi tool create. “For example, with a 3D printing device we don’t have any waste, like we may with metal cutting.”
The cost of 3D printing equipment remains one of the major barriers to the widespread adversion of 3D printing in building, that explains why you are much additional most likely to find 3D printing equipment in the aerospace sector than the car. Howat any time, the cost of the machines is less of an issue in MRO than it is for high volume production, since the former typically needs fewer machines than the latter.
What do you ponder? Is MRO the most place for 3D printing in building? Comment at a lower place.

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