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Honeywell receives FAA certification for its to start with 3D printed flight-vital engine element

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Honeywell Aerospace, the aerospace division of conglomerate Honeywell, has acquired a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification for its initially 3D printed flight-important motor component. The component in dilemma – a #4/5 bearing housing – is a vital structural element of the ATF3-6 turbofan motor located in the Dassault Falcon 20G maritime patrol plane. The component is already in output and has been set up in an operational Falcon unit, with dozens more predicted to be printed by the stop of the year.

Jon Hobgood, Vice President of Production Engineering at Honeywell Aerospace, states: “This is a big milestone for Honeywell simply because it demonstrates the maturity of our Additive Production certification operations and paves the way for us to print far more certified, flight-vital areas in the long run. It also is a important win for the additive sector, as flight-essential parts deal with major scrutiny and high expectations for qualification and installation on plane, but this exhibits it can be done.”

The ATF3-6 turbofan engine. Photo via Honeywell Aerospace.
The ATF3-6 turbofan engine. Photograph via Honeywell Aerospace.

The 3D printed bearing housing

Frequently utilised by the French Navy in rescue missions, there are only around a dozen ATF3-6 engines at present airborne. The original design was conceived in 1960, so the engineers liable for the routine maintenance of the aircraft usually operate into source chain challenges when in search of replacements. The bearing housing, in unique, is notoriously tricky to manufacture and can be quite price-inefficient when requested in smaller portions.

Hobgood describes: “Though there are not a lot of in support, Honeywell is dependable for supporting and retaining these engines. We experienced to obtain a way to address these offer chain troubles and hold these plane traveling.”

By way of the use of additive producing certification, Honeywell was equipped to generate the part with no tooling at all. Even with minimal manufacturing volumes, the company could maintain both of those producing costs and direct situations to a bare minimum.

Hobgood adds: “We were being equipped to use our know-how in Additive Production certification to create the skilled part a great deal more rapidly, decreasing our direct time from roughly two yrs to two weeks.”

The Dassault Falcon 20G maritime patrol aircraft. Photo via Dassault.
The Dassault Falcon 20G maritime patrol aircraft. Photograph by using Dassault.

Difficulties with flight-significant components

The bearing housing is deemed a flight-crucial component, indicating its existence and performance are important if the plane is to run reliably. Sections like it are subjected to in depth tests and certification by the FAA ahead of they are allowed to be mounted as end-use elements. To get to this level, Honeywell has had to function very closely with the FAA, by each the development and qualification phases of the challenge. The bearing housing has now grow to be the company’s 1st 3D printed aspect to be certified for flight by the regulatory entire body.

Functioning to the exact target, aerospace company Boeing introduced the completion of its initially take a look at flight with the 777x, an airliner jet powered by twin GE9X engines, earlier this 12 months. GE’s engines have been generating news in current several years thanks to their hefty reliance on 3D printing certification technology, with each and every engine that contains in excess of 300 additively made components. Bundled within just this figure is the famed LEAP fuel nozzle, which was the groundbreaking section that led the demand.

In the protection sector, the U.S. Air Pressure has also been generating strides in direction of 3D printed motor components. Engineers from the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complicated, a wing of the Air Power Sustainment Heart, not long ago develop into the initially to successfully check a 3D printed metallic component within a U.S. Air Force plane motor. The examined component was a 3D printed anti-ice gasket, which is significant for the operation of the TF33-P103 engine in sub-zero environments.

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Highlighted picture displays the ATF3-6 turbofan engine. Image via Honeywell Aerospace.