A new 150,000-sq-ft investment casting facility has been opened in Tampa, Fla., by Chromalloy Castings. According to Tom Trotter, v-p and general manager, it is the only facility in the world that can investment cast aerospace gas turbine blades from the smallest up to and including large, heavy industrial gas turbine blades and vanes other than those made under contract for the OEMs.
“It’s about life-cycle cost management,” Trotter said. “We’ve come full circle in that we started by offering anti-corrosion and thermal barrier coatings for aero engine components. We saw a need for repair and expanded into turbine blade and nozzle guide vane component repair. It provided a cost-effective alternative to simply replacing a part with a new one from the OEM. Unfortunately, sometimes they can’t be repaired and now with investment casting technology we can make a new, much more cost-effective replacement for our customers,” he said. “We are now able to offer the industry a single source for engine component design, engineering, tooling, machining, repairs, coatings and castings.”
The facility is designed to pour annually up to one million pounds of super-alloy turbine components and parts for an engine hot section, or critical gas path, for the entire range of aircraft jet engines, marine, aero-derivative and heavy-frame industrial turbines, including the largest power generation engines.. The operation makes vanes, nozzles, high-pressure turbine blades and other components using such methods as equiaxed, directionally solidified and advanced single-crystal casting technologies.
The company is also adding a $5 million, 40,000-sq-ft production facility to manufacture the critical ceramic cores used to cast super-alloy turbine engine vanes and blades. Ceramic cores are used in the investment casting process to form complex cooling passages within the components which are necessary for the hot and highly stressed sections of gas turbine engines to operate effectively. The addition is slated to be operational early next year.