Finland flies 3D-printed engine parts for the first time

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An aircraft engine fitted with a 3D-printed part has been flown for the first time in Finland by the Finnish Air Force. 

The part, which was successfully tested on an F/A-18 Hornet fighter on January 5, 2018, was developed by defence firm Patria. The part was made from Inconel 625, a nickel-based superalloy that possesses high strength properties and resistance to temperatures of up to 816°C.

Patria has been working on the manufacturing process of 3D-printed parts for the last two years and said it is actively involved in exploring new methods of manufacturing and repairing various parts. 

Ville Ahonen, vice president of Patria’s aviation business unit, said, “For this part, the development work has been done over the last two years, with the aim of exploring the manufacturing process for 3D-printable parts, from the drawing board to practical application.

“Using 3D printing to make parts enables a faster process from customer need to finished product, as well as the creation of newer, better structures. We will continue research on additive manufacturing methods, with the aim of making the new technology more efficient.”

January 23, 2018

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before eventually becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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