Siemens cuts development time, produces 3D-printed turbine blades


Siemens AG

❝ Siemens has successfully completed a test of 3D-printed blades to be used in gas turbines, the latest development in a technology that has become increasingly popular with automakers, rival General Electric, Nike and aerospace giants like Boeing.

According to Reuters, Siemens said the test, which it called a “breakthrough,” was the first of its kind. The test took place under full-load engine conditions at temperatures above 2,282 degrees Fahrenheit…

❝ The blades, composed of a polycrystalline nickel superalloy, were made by U.K. manufacturer Materials Solutions, Reuters said. Siemens bought Materials Solutions last year.

The 3D-printing technology allowed Siemens to bring the gas turbine blades from the design phase to the testing phase within two months, a process that typically takes two years…It was unclear when the blades might go into production

❝ General Electric last year also purchased two European 3D printing companies, and has developed a jet engine via 3-D printing. Boeing has also used the technology, also known as additive manufacturing, to make tools and parts. Nike has also used the technology to design shoes.

Still no summation of cost vs time in a production process. I remain willing to be convinced that 3D printing is useful especially for prototyping – as in this case. Long-term production needs? Not so certain.

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