Announced yesterday (12e July), the deal will see Velo3D supply P&W with its Sapphire XC printer, transforming the supply chain associated with manufacturing jet engine components.
American companies have been encouraged to explore and adopt AM following the launch of President Biden’s AM Forward initiative, which aims to advance the technology by investing in regional manufacturing ecosystems and technology hubs.
By harnessing its ability to handle gradient materials and microstructures, manufacturers could use AM to revolutionize the traditional aerospace industry.
One of the main advantages of AM technology is its ability to produce repeatable and consistent parts compared to traditional “subtractive” manufacturing.
California-based Velo3D uses AM to create structure by adding layer upon layer, mirroring design aspects found in nature such as coral reefs and honeycombs.
“Metal additive manufacturing can transform aerospace systems by delivering unprecedented part consolidation, lighter components, and more efficient systems,” said Benny Buller, Founder and CEO of Velo3D.
Discussing P&W’s adoption of the Sapphire XC printer, he added, “We’re excited to see how they innovate their most mission-critical designs using our end-to-end solution, and how the economies of scale an internal system help increase addressable use cases.
Raytheon is committed to seeking the involvement of small and medium-sized manufacturers in more than 50% of its requests for quotations on products made using additive technologies.
As one of the main forces behind the AM Forward White House initiative, the multi-billion dollar aerospace giant is a strong supporter of 3D printing.
By increasing production of parts such as heat exchangers, stators and nozzles, the small, diverse suppliers that make up nearly half of Raytheon’s supply chain can help the company reduce the complexity of its parts, thus speeding up development times.
Calibrated to print in Inconel 718 – a nickel-based superalloy – the new P&W Sapphire XC printer is ideally designed to print components suitable for extreme temperatures.
“Pratt & Whitney looks forward to future applications using the Sapphire XC printer and collaborations with other potential vendors with Velo3D capability, for P&W GTF and advanced engine programs,” said Jesse Boyer, Fellow, AM , P&W.
In addition to its uses in aerospace, Velo3D’s AM solutions could help revolutionize the production of industrial gas technologies.
Read more: 3D printing, the future of industrial gas tech production?