Pratt and Whitney has acquired a Sapphire XC metal 3D printer from Velo3D, to evaluate the machine for manufacturing production jet engine components.

This printer is the first of its type to be installed at the company, while it previously used Velo3D’s contract manufacturer network to produce printed and finished parts.

Pratt and Whitney, along with parent company Raytheon Technologies, are experienced users of additive manufacturing technologies with extensive knowledge across various platforms. 

Raytheon is a launch participant of President Biden’s AM Forward initiative, a new program launched in May 2022, encouraging companies to explore the use of additive manufacturing to transform supply chains and drive innovation.

“Metal additive manufacturing can transform aviation and space systems by delivering unprecedented part consolidation, lighter weight components, and more efficient systems,” said Benny Buller, Velo3D Founder and CEO.

Buller continued: “We’re pleased to see Pratt and Whitney move forward with their own Sapphire XC printer. We’re eager to see how they innovate their most mission critical designs using our end-to-end solution, and how the economies of scale of an in-house system help increase addressable use-cases.”

The Sapphire XC is calibrated to print in Inconel 718, a nickel-based superalloy well-suited for extreme temperatures. The Raytheon Technologies Research Center in Connecticut is the company’s central innovation hub where engineers, scientists and researchers explore and develop new, transformative technologies.

“Pratt & Whitney looks forward to future applications using the Sapphire XC printer, and collaborations with other potential suppliers with the Velo3D capability, for Pratt & Whitney GTF and advanced engine programs,” said Jesse Boyer, fellow, Additive Manufacturing, Pratt & Whitney. 

The centre provides the company’s businesses with innovations and solutions to critical customer problems in a range of research areas. This is made possible by Velo3D’s end-to-end solution, which includes Flow print preparation software, the Sapphire family of printers, Assure quality assurance software, and Intelligent Fusion underlying manufacturing processes.

Through Velo3D systems, customers can build mission-critical metal parts that were previously impossible to manufacture. It has partnered with companies such as SpaceX, Honeywell, Honda, Chromalloy and Lam Research.

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