Tag Archives: aviation
GE Aviation has acquired the assets of Morris Technologies, and its sister company, Rapid Quality Manufacturing, precision manufacturing companies operating in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio. Terms were not disclosed.
The two privately-held companies, with about 130 Cincinnati-area employees, specialize in additive manufacturing, an automated process for creating rapid prototypes and end-use production components.
With this acquisition, GE Aviation continues to expand its engineering and manufacturing capabilities to meet its growing jet engine production rates over the next five years. (In addition to acquiring these manufacturing processes, GE Aviation will open two new production plants in the United States next year.)
“Morris Technologies and Rapid Quality Manufacturing are parts of our investment in emerging manufacturing technologies,” said Colleen Athans, vice president and general manager of the Supply Chain Division at GE Aviation. “Our ability to develop state-of-the-art manufacturing processes for emerging materials and complex design geometry is critical to our future. We are so fortunate to have Morris Technologies and Rapid Quality Manufacturing just minutes from our headquarters. We know them well.”
The additive manufacturing process involves taking digital designs from computer aided design (CAD) software, and laying horizontal cross-sections to manufacture the part. The process creates the layered cross-sections using a laser beam to melt the raw material. These parts tend to be lighter than traditional forged parts because they don’t require the same level of welding. Additive manufacturing also generates less scrap material during the fabrication process.
Founded by Cincinnati natives Greg Morris, Wendell Morris and Bill Noack in 1994, Morris Technologies (Sharonville) and Rapid Quality Manufacturing (West Chester) have supplied parts to GE Aviation for several years, as well as to GE Power Systems and our Global Research Center. The companies have made everything from lightweight parts for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the U.S. military to hip replacement prototypes for the medical field. The Sharonville and West Chester facilities will become part of GE Aviation’s global network of manufacturing operations.
Morris Technologies and Rapid Quality Manufacturing have already been contracted by GE Aviation to produce components for the best-selling LEAP jet engine being developed by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and Snecma (SAFRAN) of France. The LEAP engine, which is scheduled to enter service in the middle of this decade on three different narrow-body aircraft, has already received more than 4,000 engine orders before the first full engine has even gone to test.
Morris Technologies and Rapid Quality Manufacturing focus on the aerospace, energy, oil & gas, and medical industries.
GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (GE), is a leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, components, and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. For more information, visit us atwww.geaviation.com. Follow GE Aviation on twitter at http://twitter.com/geaviation and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/geaviation.
A roundup of the top news On 3D Printing brought you from September 3 to September 9.
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Could you 3D print an airplane? Some engineers at Airbus seem to think so, at least by 2050 and with a really big 3D printer.
Bastian Schaefer, a cabin engineer with Airbus, has been working for the last two years on a concept cabin that envisions what the future of flight would look like from the passenger’s perspective. From that came a radical concept: build the aircraft itself from the ground up with a 3D printer that’s very large in deed, ie. as big as an aircraft hangar. That probably sounds like a long shot, since the biggest 3D printers today are about the size of a dining table. But the Airbus design comes with a roadmap, from 3D-printing small components now, through to the plane as a whole around 2050.
Why use 3D printing at all? Airbus parent EADS has been looking into using the process, known as additive layer manufacturing, for making aircraft for some time because it’s potentially cheaper, and can result in components that are 65% ligher than with traditional manufacturing methods. Airbus’ concept plane is also so dizzyingly complicated that it requires radical manufacturing methods: from the curved fuselage to the bionic structure, to the transparent skin that gives passengers a panoramic view of the sky and clouds around them.
The challenges are many. First, you need a 3D printer big enough to print airplane parts. Second, you need to incorporate precise, lightweight materials into the additive manufacturing construction. And third, this novel design needs to pass stringent regulation in the aviation industry.
Again the engineers are on the case.
EADS has been experimenting with 3D printing and famously printed an “Airbike” last year. Schaefer, who has been with Airbus for six years, started working on the transparent concept cabin project around the same time as the Airbike project in 2010, calling on colleagues from different departments at Airbus. “We have an opportunity to do something different,” he told them.
He and other industrial designers, tech- and trend-scouts started brainstorming and came up with the current, 3D printed concept design. He has around 10 people working on the project with him, including industrial designers and tech scouts, all trying to push the technology forward.
Below is a video showcasing the Airbus concept cabin, which incorporates many of these new design ideas.
Airplane cabin photo by WexDub used under Creative Commons license.