3-D Turbine Blades Win Award

13 December 2017

Siemens received an award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for successfully 3-D- printing and fully testing gas turbine blades.

The Mechanical Engineering magazine Emerging Technology Awards recognizes some outstanding examples of what ASME calls ascending technologies: new products and processes that have left the breakthrough stage, crossed the so-called commercialization valley of death, and are poised to reshape the industries where they compete.

ASME editors selected the technologies from each of five focus areas: advanced manufacturing, automation and robotics, bioengineering, clean energy, and pressure technology.

“The 3-D-printed turbine blade places Siemens at the forefront of a technology trend that is spurring a global revolution in product design and production,” said Charla K. Wise, president of ASME. “Mechanical Engineering magazine is pleased to present one of the five Emerging Technology Awards to a leader in manufacturing, and we thank the design team on the 3-D-printed blade for advancing technology excellence.”

Earlier this year, Siemens finished its first full-load engine tests for gas turbine blades completely produced using additive manufacturing (AM) technology. The company successfully validated multiple 3-D-printed turbine blades with a conventional blade design at full engine conditions.
This means the components were tested at 13 000 revolutions per minute and temperatures beyond 1250o C. Furthermore, Siemens tested a new blade design with a completely revised and improved internal cooling geometry manufactured using the AM technology.

“We are especially proud to be honored by such a recognized organization as ASME,” said Jenny Nilsson, who led the team that realized the blade project. “The project objective was to try out and map this radical new way of working. The outcome is another confirmation that we are on the right path toward further improvements of our gas turbine technology.”

The project team worked with blades manufactured at the Siemens 3-D printing facility in Finspong, Sweden and at Materials Solutions, the recently acquired company in Worcester, UK. Materials Solutions has more than 10 years’ experience in additively manufacturing high performance parts for turbomachinery. Materials Solutions is AS 9100 certified and an approved vendor for AM for leading customers in the aerospace industry. Applying its aerospace experience, Materials Solutions also supplies tooling to leading automotive companies and high-performance parts in titanium and nickel super alloys for auto sports.

AM has the potential to become a key technology in the production of gas turbine components, Siemens said, and the company has been investing in this innovative technology right from its inception, and is now driving the industrialization and commercialization of these processes. Besides the awarded turbine blades, Siemens is using the innovative technology to produce burner tips, burner nozzles and to repair burner heads. “Additive Manufacturing is one of our main pillars in our digitalization strategy. With our combined know-how in 3-D printing, we will continue to drive the technological development and application in this field,” said Christoph Haberland, Advisory Key Expert Additive Manufacturing, and member of the blade team.

The ASME distinction is the third award for this project, following the International 3-D Printing Industry Award and the companywide Werner von Siemens Award. In addition to a 16-page special section of the December 2017 issue of Mechanical Engineering magazine, ASME has also produced a five-video series celebrating the technologies. Some of these videos were debuted at ASME’s largest annual event, the International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, held in Tampa, Florida, USA, in November.


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