Siemens has completed its first full load engine tests for the world’s first 3D-printed gas turbine blades in the UK.
It claims to have successfully validated multiple 3D printed blades with a conventional blade design at full engine conditions.
That means the components were tested at 13,000 revolutions per minute and temperatures beyond 1,250°C.
3D printing, also called Additive Manufacturing (AD), involves making a three-dimensional object by adding ultra-thin layers of material one by one, following a digital design, in contrast to conventional manufacturing where excess material is cut away.
The tests were conducted at its industrial gas turbine factory in Lincoln.
Willi Meixner, CEO of Siemens Power and Gas Division said: “This exciting technology is changing the way we manufacture by reducing the lead time for prototype development up to 90%.
“We can accelerate the development of new gas turbine designs with an increased efficiency and availability and can bring these advancements faster to our customers. This new flexibility in manufacturing also allows Siemens to develop closer to the customer’s requirements and also to provide spare parts on demand.”