ROI analysis shows that laser-automated turbine blade repair is good investment

The tool was developed by a laser processing expert in the aerospace, aviation, medical, and power industries, and leverages Optomec’s real-world experience remanufacturing 10 million industrial turbine blades.

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Additive manufacturing solutions supplier Optomec (Albuquerque, NM) has developed a new tool that calculates the payback of automated laser cladding equipment for gas turbine maintenance and repair operations (MRO). The tool, developed by Terry VanderWert PE, a laser processing expert in the aerospace, aviation, medical,and power industries, leverages Optomec’s real-world experience remanufacturing 10 million industrial turbine blades.

The MRO ROI calculator is designed to help customers repairing gas turbine components gain deeper insight into the cost savings associated with moving to an automated process. It builds on research conducted for Optomec’s white paper, The Business Case for Automated Laser Cladding in Aviation Component Repair: Five Lessons Learned.

Gathering customer-specific data in key areas, the tool enables Optomec to produce a full report that calculates the cost savings of automated laser cladding vs. the customer’s incumbent process, which is usually manual TIG welding. In addition to ROI, the calculator also estimates cost per part, payback period, net present value, and internal rate of return. 

“Despite the fact that many MROs have moved to automated processes, the majority of turbine and compressor blade repair is still done manually today,” says Mike Dean, Marketing Director at Optomec. “In our work with customers, we recognized that a wide range of factors contribute to building the business case for automated laser cladding and that is why we felt the need to develop this tool. With our ROI calculator, we can help more MROs understand the real value and impact automation can have. In addition to the cost savings, there are huge benefits in terms of higher repeatability and superior metallurgy from automated laser cladding.”

Dean goes on to say, “Terry's analysis allows users to model their particular processor mix of several repair processesincluding material costs, labor, scrap, machine cost, installation cost, and so forth. The output of the calculator is return on investment, net present value, internal rate of return, payback time, and cost per part. The tool gives production managers a better understanding of their current cost structure, even if they do not ultimately purchase an automated laser cladder.

Optomec has expertise in gas turbine MRO for the energy and aviation markets. With more than 100 installed systems around the world, the company’s automated laser cladding capabilities are certified in 15 countries and used by virtually all major manufacturers of aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines. The systems have repaired more than 10 million components. Click here for the MRO ROI analysis.

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Source: Optomec press release  July 8, 2020

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