Safran (Chalet 137) unveiled its Add+ technology demonstrator engine this week at the Paris Air Show. Based on the company’s current Arrius helicopter engine, 30 percent of components of the Add+ are made using 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. The engine will undergo ground run testing later this year.
Safran’s goal for Add+ is to use it to facilitate an increased 3D-printed parts count in its production engines. On Add+, major engine components—including nozzle guide vanes, combustion chamber, and stator rear module—are made using Selective Laser Melting (SLM) techniques. This allows assemblies of hundreds of separate pieces to be molded into a single piece. By way of example, the accessory gearbox casing is now made of two pieces instead of 12.
Add+ also integrates components manufactured by metal injection molding, such as free power turbine blades.
“We started work on an existing engine model and redesigned almost 30 percent of its components using additive manufacturing techniques, with a view to integrating those components into serial production units. When we start ground runs, we will evaluate behavior of these new parts in operation,” said Etienne Hesse, Add+ program coordinator for Safran Helicopter Engines.