In four announcements over the last nine days, GE Additive has shared the news of a notable sales season in metal 3D printing.
The three most recent announcements hit this week during the famed Paris Air Show, which each year sees a greater presence of — and clearly investment in — additive manufacturing. These come on the heels of an increased installation in the southern hemisphere last week. It’s been a very busy (and lucrative) June for GE Additive.
To start the sales announcement ball rolling, last week GE Additive announced the sales of Arcam EBM systems number four and five to New Zealand’s Zenith Tecnica.
The company, based on the North Shore of Auckland, now houses three Q10plus systems — including the new two — and two Q20plus systems in place, according to CEO Matt Wielenga. This, he added, “makes us one the largest EBM service bureaus in the world,” they believe.
The electron beam melting installations at ISO 13485- and AS9100-certified Zenith Tecnica rely largely on the medical sector; the announcement indicates:
“The investment in two more GE Additive Arcam EBM Q10plus machines adds additional capacity to fulfil a number of newly-signed contracts with a leading US-based medical implant manufacturer and other customers from other sectors.”
It’s not all medical, though, as aerospace and defense have also figured into the company’s 3D printing history; Wielenga also reports more than 400 of their 3D printed parts now in orbit. Zenith Tecnica, then, is familiar not only with intensely regulated applications, but specifically in using Arcam EBM equipment to 3D print up-to-par parts.
TUSAŞ Engine Industries
Kicking off the Paris Air Show Announcements is a DMLM sale to Turkey-based TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TEI).
The company has purchased four systems: two M LINE Factory systems and two M2 machines. TEI formed as a GE Aviation joint venture with Turkish Aerospace Industries, the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, and the Turkish Aeronautical Association, providing a strong foundation to relationships with GE.
The four new additive manufacturing systems are set for installation at TEI’s Eskişehir HQ, alongside an installed base of laser and Arcam EBM machines.
Again the installation sees roots — very unsurprisingly for an Air Show-appropriate announcement — in aerospace as additive manufacturing continues to live up to the regulations and rigor of the industry.
“Today, we invest in TEI’s future by investing in additive manufacturing, ‘the future of manufacturing.’ Our longstanding partnership and collaboration with GE is now broadening with GE Additive’s machine portfolio,” said Professor Dr. Mahmut Faruk Akşit, President & CEO, TEI.
DMLM is back in focus with an initial installation at France-based FusiA Aeroadditive.
The only non-GE-Additive-fleet-expansion announcement of this bunch, FusiA Aeroadditive is investing in its first Concept Laser M2 system. FusiA is familiar with metal additive manufacturing, with more than eight years experience — a look at their website shows a history with EOS equipment in particular — and the tier one aerospace industry supplier is ISO 9001 and AS/EN/JISQ 9001 certified.
Despite the seemingly long history with EOS, FusiA is now looking to move over to GE Additive’s equipment in an interesting statement — and not one made outright.
“As our business scales we have made the strategic decision to transition over to GE Additive technology and invest first of all in a Concept Laser M2 platform,” says Cyrille Chanal, CEO of FusiA Groupe. “Through its own additive journey, GE Additive brings deep experience of the specific needs of the highly-regulated aerospace industry and therefore the demands of our customers for reliable and repeatable technology.”
The week’s largest system investment comes from GE itself as GE Aviation is bringing in a full 27 Arcam EBM systems.
With 17 Arcam EBM A2X and 10 Arcam Spectra H systems, GE Aviation and its Avio Aero business will see some significant fleet expansion.
Cameri-Italy-based Avio Aero already runs 35 Arcam systems. For its part, “GE Aviation has doubled its fleet of Arcam EBM machines in a relatively short period,” according to Karl Lindblom, General Manager, GE Additive Arcam EBM. The announcement doesn’t indicate how many of the 27 newly-purchased systems will be added to the either specific fleet, just that:
“The additional EBM systems will be installed at GE Aviation and Avio Aero facilities in the US and Europe and will be used primarily for the production of titanium aluminide (TiAl) blades on the low-pressure turbine for the GE9X engine.”
The engine, developed for the new Boeing 777X, is a prime candidate for additive manufacturing use, as the TiAL blades that can be 3D printed can weigh about half as much as conventional nickel-alloy turbine blades. The systems’ capacity is also helpful, as GE Additive notes the Arcam EBM A2X systems can each produce six blades in a batch and the Spectra H up to ten blades. Lightweighting the blades can lead to a 10% reduction in fuel consumption as compared to GE9X predecessor GE90.
Financial terms were not disclosed for any of the announcements.
That’s one of those nice things wealthy people say when they don’t want to disclose how terribly wealthy they are; these sales are significant. The systems aren’t cheap by any stretch, and aside from the dollar figures attached, they indicate something important for GE Additive: investing in Arcam and Concept Laser a few years ago is (quite literally) paying off.
And this is a nice statement to the aerospace industry at large: metal additive manufacturing is here to play, and it’s here to stay.
Via GE Additive