Chromalloy Chooses VELO3D for 3D-Printed Aftermarket Parts for Gas Turbines

Additive manufacturing will help keep aging engines operational with greater flexibility and shorter delivery times than traditional MRO supply chains, say companies.


Zack Hopkins, an engineer at Chromalloy Gas Turbine, with the company's new Sapphire metal additive manufacturing system.
VELO3D has entered the maintenance, repair, and operations market for aviation and energy with Chromalloy choosing its Sapphire system.

VELO3D today announced that Chromalloy, which supports gas turbine engine manufacturers and operators worldwide, recently selected its VELO3D Sapphire system. Chromalloy will use additive manufacturing for maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) projects in the aviation and energy markets.

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based Chromalloy develops systems to reduce operating expenses and extend the life of gas turbine engines. The company, a subsidiary of Sequa Corp., is authorized by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and other national aviation authorities. It is also qualified under ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program.

Chromalloy to use AM to extend engine life

Industries are increasingly adopting additive manufacturing (AM) to offset the high costs of low-volume, direct-part replacement for conventionally produced parts when demand and long-term forecasting are uncertain. Chromalloy is installing Sapphire in its manufacturing and repair services environment.

“Chromalloy continues to seek innovative alternatives for our customers to extend the life of their engines and reduce their MRO costs,” stated John Green, vice president of engineering and technology at Chromalloy. “The VELO3D additive manufacturing equipment provides a unique, practical solution for our proprietary LifeX customer solutions.”

VELO3D will qualify Chromalloy’s machine for 3D printing nickel-based superalloys, including HastelloyX, which is known for its strength and durability in high-temperature environments. The company said its patented SupportFree process enables geometric freedom.

The capability to produce practically unlimited geometries eliminates the need to redesign legacy parts in order to produce them with AM, claimed VELO3D. This can reduce the barrier of transitioning legacy parts, historically produced by casting, welding, or brazing, to additive manufacturing, it said.

“For Chromalloy, 3D printed parts must provide inherent value because they are 3D printed,” said Jim Whitton, director of innovation strategy at Chromalloy. “Otherwise, the printing itself is just a novelty. VELO3D’s unique build capability and material density create high value by reducing post-processing requirements.”

VELO3D said all Sapphire laser powder-bed machines come standard with its highly automated, user-friendly Flow pre-print software and Assure quality assurance (QA) and control system.

Partners expect to expand in MRO markets

“As an industry leader in the aviation MRO space, Chromalloy is an excellent partner for us,” said Benny Buller, founder and CEO of VELO3D. “They have the expertise to open up a whole market category of parts. With the flexibility to produce high-value, high mix, low-volume parts, AM allows the supply chain to be scaled to market- and customer-specific requirements.”

“For complex gas turbine combustor components that have limited aftermarket availability or high replacement cost, the Sapphire system will allow Chromalloy to produce hardware on-demand, negating high NPI [new product introduction] tooling costs and lead-times of other methods,” Whitton added.

VELO3D said it brings together integrated software, hardware, and process-control innovation. The Silicon Valley-based company said its offerings can help manufacturers accelerate product innovation, become more agile and responsive to market needs, and reduce costs. VELO3D said it was the first in the industry to introduce SupportFree metal 3D printing, which allows for the manufacture of previously impossible geometries. 

VELO3D discusses the capabilities of its SupportFree Metal AM system.

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Zack Hopkins, an engineer at Chromalloy Gas Turbine, with the company's new Sapphire metal additive manufacturing system.

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