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GE Aviation’s Catalyst turboprop engine wins award for 3D-printed design
March 24, 2019
Source: ASM International
GE Aviation, Auburn, Alabama, announces that it has been recognized by Aviation Week with a Laureate Award in the Business Aviation category for the GE Catalyst program’s innovative work with additive manufacturing design and implementation.
GE’s Catalyst is the first clean-sheet turboprop engine for the Business and General Aviation market in more than 30 years. It includes more printed components than any production engine in aviation history. More than 800 conventionally manufactured parts have been reduced to 12 additive parts on the engine.
The GE Catalyst engine was chosen by Textron to power the new Cessna Denali and is currently going through certification testing. GE’s work on its newest turboprop has been a worldwide collaboration. It includes 22 GE Aviation facilities in Europe with teams located in the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, and Italy, as well as 1800 engineers.
“For more than six decades, Aviation Week editors have annually awarded Laureates to great achievers in aerospace and aviation,” said Aviation Week Network Editorial Director Joe Anselmo. “GE Aviation and this year’s winners exemplify the spirit and innovations that are transforming our industry to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”
Additive components reduce the Catalyst’s weight by five percent while contributing a one percent improvement in specific fuel consumption. Thanks to additive manufacturing, the Catalyst program has benefited with a reduction of cycle time, as well as fewer first article inspections, less inventory, fewer defect opportunities, and a reduction in tooling costs.
In addition, GE Aviation is said to be planning a $50 million expansion to its Auburn additive manufacturing capabilities. Increased capacity will allow the high-volume production of a new jet engine component, the 3D-printed bracket for the GEnx-2B engine program. GE has already invested more than $100 million in its Auburn operation, which began producing the additively manufactured fuel nozzle tip for the LEAP jet engine in 2015. As of October 2018, some 30,000 of these parts had been produced.
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