GE Aviation Claims Industry First For Additive Manufacturing In MRO

The technique will be used to maintain the GE9X engine when the 777X enters service.
Credit: Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

SINGAPORE—GE Aviation Engine Services Singapore (GE AESS) has introduced a new additive manufacturing technology for engine airfoil repair and manufacture which it claims as a first in the MRO industry.

The move comes as GE AESS prepares to hire 300 new staff in 2022 to get ready for the expected post-pandemic recovery in the Asia-Pacific region.

Ngiam Shih Tung, an engineering manager at GE AESS, said the new technology utilizes Direct Metal Laser Melting—or DMLM—machines made by GE Additive. The process has been developed by Singaporean GE Aviation engineers, working together with the company’s U.S.-based engineering team. 

The method is now used on the GE CF6 turbofan’s high-pressure airfoil and certified parts are already flying in some engines. Ngiam added that the MRO is now also using the technique on fuel nozzles for the LEAP engines and says it will be utilized extensively on the Boeing 777X’s GE9X engine once that widebody enters service. GE AESS is also evaluating its potential for use in repair of other products as well. 

While unable to disclose an exact rate of production, the MRO said the additive manufacturing machine is able to repair parts at twice the rate of conventional repair techniques. 

When asked why the Singapore operation was the first to roll out the technology, Ngiam replied: “GE AESS repair facility has a strong track record in delivering for customers, a deep pool of technical expertise and a supportive government.” GE AESS performs 60% of GE’s global engine MRO work.

The machine was rolled out at the GE AESS 40th anniversary in Singapore celebrations.

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.