The world’s first 3D-printed jet engine has been recently revealed by a team of Australian researchers. This is surely one of the world’s manufacturing breakthroughs that might possibly lead to less expensive, lighter and more energy-efficient jets.
A team of research engineers from Monash University that are developing projects under the commercial arm called Amaero Engineering are working on top-secret prototypes for Boeing Co, Airbus Group NV, Raytheon Co and Safran SA. This is one of the most promising actions that could re-open Australia’s manufacturing industry lines once again.
Robert Hobbs is the CEO of Amaero. This is the private company set up by Monash to commercialize the product. In an interview given at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation earlier this week, he expressed his opinion on 3D printing being able to cut production times for many of the components. It is relevant since you are going from three months to six days!
“The turn around time associated with trying out, particularly trying out a new part is very long, can be months. Where as we can scan this, print it off in a matter of days and so the big advantage is that we can speed up the turn around time on the jet engine dramatically,” he confessed. Plans are, apparently, to have printed engine components in flight tests within the next 12 months. These parts will then be certified for commercial use within the next two to three years.
Australia – land of 3D Printing
Australia has the opportunity to corner this new emerged market. They have one of only three of the necessary large format 3D metal printers in the world — France and Germany have the other two. Plus, the only place that makes the materials for use in the machine is also Australia.
As few of us might know, Australia is the world leader in terms of intellectual property (IP) regarding 3D printing for manufacturing. 3D printing is highly useful in the production of automotive and aerospace prototypes as well as in the creation of specialized tools, moldings and many other parts.
Large aerial companies are expected to announce collaboration contracts within the next years to come. After all, the world of 3D printing has only just begun.