The United States Air Force (USAF) has assigned contract with Optomec to develop an additive repair process for oversized titanium components for aircraft engines.
The components are used on USAF aircraft, including the F22 Raptor and F35 Lightning II.
Under the $ 1.5 million contract, Optomec will develop a system for the production of metal additives that will help repair parts.
Integrated blade rotors (IBRs), also known as blisks, are single-part compressor rotors that are often damaged or worn under normal use.
The cost of replacing each of the light titanium alloy glitters could be more than $ 500,000, the company said.
With Optomec’s additive repair process, the Air Force is expected to save more than 80% of total repair costs, including tens of millions of dollars in annual investment.
The contract will see Optomec deliver and introduce a five-way LENS / DED metal printer, along with a 5-foot x 5-foot x 3-foot envelope that can handle glitters up to 46 inches in diameter.
In addition, the system includes its own gas purification system, which is required for titanium deposition to ensure superior metallurgical properties.
The gas purification system can maintain a moisture-free environment (<10ppm).
The company will study the effectiveness of various process monitoring techniques. The techniques are used to track the main variables that serve as a measure of quality assurance and verification.
The project will also demonstrate feasible repairs for large glitters, as well as repair of damage from a foreign object (FOD) and representative wear in several areas of the individual blades.
Optomec will also repair various parts of the aircraft’s large-scale flash test for rotation testing, which will be the main qualification step.
Optomec Vice President of Business Development Jamie Hanson said: “Optomec is best positioned to deliver manufacturing solutions to this growing need, based on its own machines, software and process capabilities, combined with its existing position as a market leader in delivering machines for the production repair of individual turbine blades. “