Norsk Titanium, a supplier of structural, titanium 3D printed parts for the aerospace industry, has revealed details about its new Rapid Plasma Deposition (RPD) machine. The new 3D printer, the Gen-IVL, is capable of larger and faster 3D printing, enabling the production of even more complex aircraft and engine components.
With the International Paris Air Show taking place this week, we are expecting a multitude of aerospace-related additive manufacturing news. In fact, we’ve already heard updates from Stratasys and Oerlikon, which are strengthening their AM aerospace solutions through renewed and new partnerships. Now, we’re also hearing from Norsk Titanium. And even though its new 3D printer is not on the market just yet, it’s nevertheless interesting to hear more about the upcoming AM system.
At this stage, Norsk Titanium has completed the design stage for the Gen-IVL 3D printer and is moving ahead into the building stage. The system is based on the same advanced (and patented) Rapid Plasma Deposition technology that Norsk is known for, which uses plasma torches to melt titanium wire within an argon environment to produce near-net shape components.
The new Gen-IVL 3D printer introduces a larger build volume than the company’s MERKE IV system, which has a build envelope of 900 x 600 x 300 mm. The new system, for its part, boasts a print space of 1,900 x 400 x 600 mm. According to the company, the titanium 3D printer will be capable of printing both double-sided and single-sided components with complex geometries. In terms of speed, the Gen-IVL can reportedly reach deposition rates in excess of 8 kg per hour.
“The G-IVL machine will significantly expand Norsk’s capabilities and expand the addressable component market able to use RPD technology,” said Carl Johnson, Senior Vice President of Engineering and CTO at Norsk. “This will reduce buy-to-fly ratios, machining costs and lead times. We have used the same robust process controls proven in commercial aircraft applications in this larger machine.”
Norsk’s RPD technology was the first Direct Energy Deposition (DED) process to receive FAA approval. Today, the technology is OEM-qualified for structural titanium components and has applications in manufacturing structural and safety-critical components for commercial aircraft and engines, oil and gas, marine, automotive and tooling industries.
Looking specifically at the aerospace industry, Norsk has been in continuous serial production of commercial aircraft components for over two years. It has also worked with aerospace leader Boeing—qualifying parts for the 787 aircraft and acting as one of the company’s qualified producers.
Norsk is also the first AM company to successfully 3D print and test an aircraft engine rotating part. The part, an Integrally Bladed Rotor (IBR) measuring over 20 inches in diameter, was produced in collaboration with Pratt Whitney, TurboCam and the University of Notre Dame Turbomachinery Lab.