General Electric‘s aviation business has announced the airworthiness qualification of the F110 engine sump cover that was additively manufactured as part of the pathfinder Pacer Edge program between the company and the U.S. Air Force.
The F110 part’s Engineering Change Proposal approval from USAF marked the first time a 3D printed engine component was quaified by a Department of Defense organization and concluded the Phase 1a of Pacer Edge initiative, GE said Wednesday.
The program is meant to lower risks and demonstrate additive manufacturing applications in aerospace, according to Nathan Parker, deputy program executive officer for the Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office. “The ability to additively manufacture an aircraft engine part and gain military airworthiness is a significant step forward in growing the adoption of additive manufacturing in the Air Force,” he said.
GE team works and shares knowledge with the Air Force to help the service branch create military airworthiness validation and certification processes and improve spiral technical data package development model for parts suitable for metal 3D printing.
Matt Szolwinski, chief engineer and leader of GE’s Large Military Engineering team, said the F110 sump cover is only the first of future additively manufactured component qualifications with the company’s military clients.
“This lean, operational efficiency… now sets us up for the next phases of the program, including looking at complex and large format, load-carrying structures,” added Szolwinski.
GE has kicked off Pacer Edge Phase 1b that is focused on an out-of-production sump cover housing on the TF34 engine.