Safran Power Units has crossed a new milestone in the field of additive manufacturing by obtaining the first certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for an auxiliary power unit (APU) major part made by additive manufacturing. This certification paves the way for its mass production.
The certified part is the turbine nozzle for the eAPU60 that is manufactured by Selective Laser Melting (SLM) using hastelloy X, a nickel-based material. Conventionally machined by inconel casting, the 3D printed part is now 35% lighter and is now comprised of only four components, versus eight prior to the new manufacturing technique.
This certification is the result of intensive endurance tests at very high temperatures on a test bench at the Safran Power Units site in Toulouse. An extensive material testing campaign, conducted by the Safran companies, also contributed to preparing the certification submission.
The results demonstrate that the new design of the nozzle is suitable for the SLM process. The metallurgical properties are also perfectly in line with the mechanical and thermal requirements for high-performance APU components subjected to extreme conditions.
"Safran Power Units now has complete mastery of the additive manufacturing process, which includes the ability to design differently, while exploiting the optimization potential in terms of industrial implementation. This allows us to offer our customers lighter engine components and reduced manufacturing cycles, whether for new or spare parts. All of our programs will progressively adopt this new manufacturing process" said François Tarel, CEO of Safran Power Units.