Technology developed to significantly reduce repair costs and overhaul time of aero-engines

Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 24

Indian Scientists have for the first time repaired aircraft engine components through an emerging additive manufacturing or 3-D printing technique called Directed Energy Deposition (DED) process, which can significantly reduce repair costs and overhaul time.

A team of scientists from the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) have indigenously developed powders suitable for additive manufacturing by melting unused scrap material.

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Utilising using inert gas atomizer available at its facility, ARCI is developing the Laser-DED process for the repair of aero-engine components made of a Nickel-based superalloy.

Nickel-based superalloys are widely used in aero-engine components. Despite having exceptional properties, they are prone to damage due to extreme operational conditions.

Manufacturing defects during the casting or machining process are another major cause of rejection, and tons of such unused components are scrapped due to minor defects.

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The impact of repair and refurbishment technology developed by ARCI can be best realized in the aerospace sector, where expensive materials, manufacturing costs and stringent quality checks are important factors, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology on Tuesday.

Furthermore, the ARCI team developed a technology to refurbish pinion housing assembly, a critical component used for power transmission to the main rotor in helicopters, by machining out the damaged layer and rebuilding it using laser cladding process followed by final machining.

A post-cladding heat treatment method was also designed to minimize micro-structural discrepancy and ensure minimal substrate properties variation.

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These laser-clad repaired prototypes were found to be free from distortion and exhibited excellent performance.

The team has also developed repair and refurbishment technologies for other industrial sectors, such as refurbishing diesel engine cylinder heads made of grey cast iron and refurbishing shafts used in the refinery.

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