GKN Aerospace expands Pratt & Whitney partnership for 3D printed engine components


British multinational manufacturer GKN Aerospace has announced the expansion of its Risk and Revenue Sharing Partnership (RRSP) with American aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney at the International Paris Air Show.

As a result, GKN Aerospace will utilize additive manufacturing to develop the Fabricated Fan Case Mount Ring and the Fan Spacer for the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G and PW1900G engines from its GTF engine family.

“GKN Aerospace’s Technology enables a huge reduction in source material use, and lifecycle energy cost, contributing to reduced CO2 emissions in the manufacturing process,” said Joakim Andersson, CEO of GKN Aerospace Engine Systems.

“This represents the largest fully automated deposition of AM to be certified on commercial aircraft and is a huge milestone for GKN Aerospace in the use of this exciting technology, paving the way for many opportunities to come.”

“This agreement is a milestone and it reaffirms the success of the engine participation programs.”

Airplace assembly. Photo via GKN Aerospace
Airplane assembly. Photo via GKN Aerospace.

GKN Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney

The Pratt & Whitney GTF engine family entered service in 2016. Since then, according to Dave Emmerling, VP, Strategy & Business Development at Pratt & Whitney, the engine “has delivered on its promised ability to reduce fuel burn by 16 to 20%, and to significantly reduce regulated emissions and noise footprint.”

Part of the GTF family, the PW1900G engine which powers the Embraer E190-E2 aircraft, and the PW1500G engine which powers the Airbus A220 aircraft, will be developed in the RRSP with GKN Aerospace. Under the original agreement, GKN Aerospace became responsible for the design and manufacture of the turbine exhaust case (TEC) and intermediate compressor case (IMC) as well as the manufacture of the engines’ low-pressure turbine (LPT) shaft.

Now, the expanded contract reinforces GKN Aerospace’s involvement in these engine programs as well as the company’s role as a long-term supplier of engine components for Pratt & Whitney. Furthermore, GKN Aerospace also has RRSPs with Pratt & Whitney for components for the Airbus A320neo family aircraft, and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ).

The Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan PW1000G aircraft engine, complete with additively manufactured components. Photo via Tia Vialva.
The Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan PW1000G aircraft engine, complete with additively manufactured components. Photo via Tia Vialva.

Laser Metal Deposition with wire technology

GKN Aerospace’s additive manufacturing process combines metal wire feedstock with a laser mounted to a robotic arm, i.e, Laser Metal Deposition with wire (LMD-w). This month, continuing a $17.8 million agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the company commissioned a new large scale additive manufacturing production cell – the Cell 2 – which uses LMD-w technology, to develop large aircraft components.

GKN Aerospace is also involved in the EU-Canadian funded AMOS project which aims to develop directed energy deposition (DED) technologies for the repair of components used in aerospace.

GKN Aerospace's Cell 2 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Photo via GKN Aerospace
GKN Aerospace’s Cell 2 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Photo via GKN Aerospace

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Featured image shows airplane assembly. Photo via GKN Aerospace. 





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