GE Additive announced plans this week at the Paris Air Show to build the world’s largest laser-powder additive manufacturing (AM) machine. Tailored for the aerospace industry, the machine will have a “build envelope” of one cubic meter, suitable for making jet engine structural components and parts for single-aisle aircraft. It will also be “applicable for manufacturers in the automotive, power and oil-and-gas industries,” said Mohammad Ehteshami, v-p and general manager of GE Additive.
The in-development initial technology demonstrator, called “Atlas,” is a laser/powder machine and will be “meter-class” in at least two directions. Several proof-of-concept machines have already been built. In the production version, the build geometry will be customizable and scalable for individual projects, with resolution and build-rate speeds equal to or better than current AM machines. Additionally, it’s being designed for use with multiple materials, including both non-reactive and reactive materials such as aluminum and titanium.
Customers currently collaborating on the project with the company “will receive beta versions of the machine by year-end,” said Ehteshami, and the yet-to-be-named production model will be available for purchase next year, with first deliveries targeted for late 2018.