In the near future GE Aviation’s GEnx-2B commercial airline engines that power the Boeing 747-8 will feature an additively manufactured bracket now that the FAA has approved a ‘change in design’ request.
The new parts will enter mass production at GE Aviation’s facility in Auburn, Alabama, being produced using GE Additive Concept Laser M2 cusing Multilaser machines this month, with the new brackets predicted to take to the skies in early in 2019.
Replacing a conventionally manufactured power door opening system (PDOS) bracket, the part is used on the ground to open and close the fan cowl doors to enable access to the fan compartment for maintenance.
The new design uses a bespoke, interlocking design to house all four brackets on a single build plate, with the Concept Laser M2 cusing machine’s pair of lasers able to print an aircraft’s worth of brackets in one build, before post-processing and inspection.
The new manufacturing method reduces waste material by almost 90 per cent, and the weight of the part by 10 per cent,
“We chose this project because it represented several firsts for us. It’s the first program we certified on a Concept Laser machine,” said Eric Gatlin, general manager, additive integrated product team, GE Aviation. “It’s also the first project we took from design to production in less than 10 months,”
“To ensure the M2 cusing machines were certified to meet the strict requirements for the aerospace industry, collaboration on this program has been closer than usual with our colleagues at GE Additive.
“As we continue thinking about the many parts we can design, redesign and manufacture on GE Additive machines, I’m looking forward to putting both our teams and the technology through their paces.”
The GEnx is the fastest-selling, high-thrust jet engine in GE Aviation history with more than 1,600 engines on order. The GEnx-2B engine powers the four-engine Boeing 747-8.