In Phoenix, Arizona, Honeywell Headquarters Additional Manufacturing Technology Center, First Financial Daily reporters in a clean and small production workshop, got a package of small samples less than 10 centimeters in length, width and height, including a scaled-down engine model, a grid cube, a cross-section and a key chain.
These are parts that Honeywell prints out in 3D. In recent years, Donald Godfrey has been working on how to apply 3D printing technology to the production of aircraft parts.
For example, Honeywell's first use of 3D printing technology to produce HTF7000 nickel-based superalloy engine lumen is expected to reduce the manufacturing cost by 50%. In the past, it took three years to develop turbine blade samples by traditional technology, but only nine weeks to use 3D printing technology. Compared with the past, it saved 70% of the time for the whole supply chain.
"Cost savings come from several aspects: one is that eight different parts can be combined into one part number in design; the other is that 3D printing technology can help aviation manufacturers reduce the use of tooling moulds. In the production of a small number of samples, design can also be more flexible, which makes the fixed input cost of production parts significantly reduced." Donald Godfrey told reporters that, for example, using 3D printing technology to produce combustion chamber shields can reduce the cost by 40%. In addition, the technology can also reduce the weight of parts, which is directly related to the fuel economy of aircraft. In the past, for large and complex components, the manufacturer could not complete them by traditional technology. They were disassembled into several parts and then combined. Now 3D printing can realize one-time forming of components, which not only increases the strength of components, but also reduces the weight of components. In addition, 3D printing technology can also help to improve the quality of parts, improve the pass rate of circulation and reduce inventory.
At present, 3D printing technology is mainly used for prototype design and sample testing, but not for mass production.
Donald Godfrey pointed out that the current use of 3D printing technology to produce components can save time, but the cost is higher, requiring technology to be pushed more widely in order to reduce costs. In addition, the assembly process of aircraft is more complex, and 3D printing technology is not enough to replace the traditional assembly process. Some 3D printing technology can support the limited size of components.