GE Aviation also presented its Advanced Turboprop (ATP) design at the air show, offering a glimpse of the first commercial aircraft engine to have a significant portion of its components made by additive manufacturing. Turboprop engines are typically used to power and personal aircraft and small commercial shuttles — puddle jumpers — and the engine design hasn't fundamentally changed since the 1960s, according to GE.
Using AM methods, GE designers were able to rethink aircraft engine design from the ground up, as it were, reducing 855 separate parts down to 12.
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Additive manufacturing also helped the GE team to develop the engine in record time.
“The ATP is going from a dream to a reality in just two years,” said Gordie Follin, executive manager of GE Aviation’s ATP program, in a statement announcing the new aircraft engine. “The normal cycle to get to a running engine is usually twice as long, and it can take as much as 10 years to develop. With additive manufacturing, we’re disrupting the whole production cycle.”
GE plans to ship beta versions of the new AM machine to partners this year, and will officially unveil the production version in November at the Formnext Show in Frankfurt, Germany.
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