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RC2
Reduction of Cycle and Cost

The RC2 project goal is to reduce manufacturing costs and production lead time. RC2 will deliver not only an innovative manufacturing process based on the combination of rapid prototyping with the most suitable finishing but also

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Background

RC2 results will permit a drastic decrease in cost and lead time for the manufacturing of functional prototypes used in R&D for the new products required by the transport sector and especially by industries working in gas turbines.

In collaboration with PEP, TURBOMECA has recently succeeded in manufacturing a complex-shaped rough part by the laser sintering of metal powder (i.e. without tools).

However, because of sintering limits, finishing techniques are necessary to meet market technical requirements for the following:

  • surface condition and size tolerance
  • thermo-mechanical properties.

From both an economical and technical point of view, finishing processes for these will have to be developed due to the differences in surface condition and in porosity of the rough parts, obtained either by rapid prototyping or by conventional machining.

The RC2 process will lead to a reduction in the time taken to design and to fabricate a functional prototype by 50%, involving a reduction in time to market by 10%.

The application of RC2 results would lead to a 20% reduction in time to market in the maritime sector.

The RC2 process will also reduce the waste linked with conventional manufacturing process.

Objectives

The first goal of the RC2 project is to speed up the time to market of new products for the transport industry but also to boost innovation by reducing both cost and lead time of functional prototypes by 50%.

The RC2 strategy helps in the development of a specific manufacturing process, including a methodology to be applied for any kind of complex-shaped mechanic part, and through a proven manufacturing reference.

The research activities in the RC2 project will be focused on:

  • the development of parameters for the rapid prototyping (RP) machine in order to obtain rough parts using raw materials through a single operation
  • the development and adaptation of the usual finishing techniques for parts made by RP
  • the development of a MMP process specific to parts made by RP
  • the development of the process that associates RP and the most suitable finishing process permitting a reduction in cost and lead time by 50%, while obtaining final parts which respond to engine manufacturers’ requirements.

This work will be completed by detailed researches on the correlation between the matter phase and surface quality.

The consortium will work on several gas turbine components but more specifically on static and rotating complex-shaped parts of the gas path (for compressor and cold turbine test bench), and of the fuel system. These components are parts of helicopter, train or vessel engines.

Description of work

The main research strategy of the RC2 project is to focus on developing the finishing techniques applicable to parts manufactured with laser sintering/melting technologies. Contrary to many other projects, RC2 will not focus on developing laser sintering and melting technologies but on implementing them as soon as they become fully operational.

The RC2 project is composed of the following work packages:

  • selection and modification of parts due to be manufactured with future RC2 processes
  • development of an original experimental method based on the optimised combination of the techniques of rapid prototyping, and innovative and usual finishing techniques
  • manufacturing of selected components through rapid prototyping
  • development of the innovative finishing MMP on selected components
  • development of innovative machining, thermo-chemical and mechanical finishing on selected parts
  • validation of the new manufacturing process capability to meet thermo-mechanical requirements for functional prototype applications
  • dissemination of the results.

Results

The reduction of cost and lead time for manufacturing functional prototypes will lead to a reduction in time to market of 10%, and this in a highly regulated industrial sector such as the aeronautical sector. In maritime sectors, where the regulations are less constraining, a qualification phase needs less time than an aeronautical certification. The application of RC2 results would lead to a 20% reduction in time to market in the maritime sector.

To elaborate a part with conventional manufacturing techniques, it is necessary to start from a block and to remove material, which generates a lot of waste such as chips and cutting oil. The RC2 process involves the creation of a part by adding material. By doing so, we will reduce the quantity of industrial waste.

In the longer term, we estimate that rapid prototyping will replace the type of machining currently used, for example like high speed machining (HSM).

Even if, for various reasons, rapid prototyping was to be reserved for only the small series and for technical prototypes in good matter, the RC2 results will be exploitable in many other sectors, like for example:

  • aeronautics
  • automotive
  • medical sector
  • industries that must regularly renew their models or that work by collections or seasons.

The use of the RC2 process in production will pave the way for new designs and for new markets, which are represented by parts that were unavailable due to the previous techniques, either due to their complexity or for physical reasons.

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