ICTM researches milling AM components with ceramic tools

Turbine blades found in aircraft engines and power generating stations often undergo repairs during their lifespan. Traditionally overlays or ‘cladding’ welds are used to repair damaged areas, which is then finished in a number of stages that help guarantee the surface quality and dimensional accuracy of the part in question. This additive technology is very well suited for making complex repairs and parts within a short timescale and also when using rare alloys, which are often used in these sorts of applications.

RWTH Aachen and Fraunhofer Institute decided to set up a new research centre specifically for this because of demand for increased research into the making and repairing of turbine components coming from industry. In collaboration with companies, the International Center for Turbomachinery Manufacturing (ICTM) will carry out research into how to improve the surface quality of titanium components, or how additive technologies can be applied more easily in turbine manufacturing for example. ICTM’s principle objective is to accelerate the innovation process and put solutions onto the market within a shorter space of time. Participating companies include DMG Mori Seiki, Emag ECM, GF Machining Solutions, Makino, SLM Solutions, Walter and Rolls-Royce Germany.

One of ICTM’s first projects is to research how fully ceramic tools can be used for finishing additive components, and specifically additive components made from high grade alloys. This will lead to substantial improvements in the finishing process, less wear, better surface qualities and higher levels of productivity.

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