Additive manufacturing mainstay Optomec has acquired Huffman.
The move both broadens and deepens Optomec’s portfolio, with particular focus on applications in energy and aviation.
Optomec, whose LENS technology leverages metal deposition capabilities for additive manufacturing, sees a complementary fit with Huffman, which has developed extensive expertise in metal 3D printing for gas turbine component repair. Optomec’s trademarked LENS metal technology is a form of directed energy deposition (DED), which has proven effective in rebuilding and repair applications as metal components can be precisely built back up following wear.
“The opportunity for additive manufacturing in repair applications is often overlooked, but when you consider that corrosion and wear cost the US economy $300 billion per year, and that the global commercial aviation industry spends almost $100 billion annually on repair, you can get a better sense of the magnitude of these markets. With the Huffman acquisition, we aim to expand the use of DED/LENS repair for the existing installed base of more than 100,000 gas turbines and engines, while also leveraging that expertise to drive greater adoption of cost-effective repairs for mainstream industrial applications,” said Optomec President and CEO David Ramahi.
Aerospace and energy are two markets finding particular use for additive manufacturing solutions. Turbines are proving a strong application area, as showcased by such complete parts as burners, blades, and impellers in both development and already serial production.
Moving parts are subject to significant wear, though, and repairing them removes the need for full replacement. DED is especially well suited to such an application.
Today’s announcement notes:
“Huffman’s equipment and software are in production at virtually all major manufacturers of aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines, who use its metal deposition capabilities to restore worn or damaged components at substantially lower cost than newly-made spare parts.”
This dedicated focus brings more opportunity in the gas turbine market to new parent company Optomec.
Bringing together these two well-known, solutions-driven companies is a move not going unnoticed as industry participants show anticipation of new solutions.
“Optomec and Huffman joining forces is exciting news in the additive manufacturing space. Having used products from both companies, I know the complementary strengths of their portfolios and the value they provide to aerospace, defense, and power generation customers,” said GE Power General Manager, Product Service Christopher E. Thompson. “Optomec’s innovative and affordable solutions in this space, combined with the robust, production-friendly equipment and intuitive user interfaces provided by Huffman are sure to enable new leaps in free-form additive manufacturing for repairs, new part build and hybrid manufacturing.”