GE has partnered with laser cutting systems maker Synova and laser machining platform company Makino Milling Machine, whose Laser MicroJet technology will be used by GE in developing a manufacturing machine that will produce gas turbine parts.
Related: Synova, Makino partner for laser microjet technology
The new machine reportedly will reduce the time required to produce cooling holes in turbomachinery components. Moreover, this machine will enable further development of GE's cooling technologies to improve gas turbine performance and extend parts life for customers.
This manufacturing technology is being utilized for the company's latest advanced gas turbines, as well as its aircraft engine production process. Some turbomachinery components, such as those in the hot gas path, are exposed to temperatures of more than 2400°F, requiring the use of special materials such as thermal barrier coatings.
The new machine provides precise through-hole drilling in these materials, which plays a critical role in providing cool airflow to components. Laser MicroJet technology combines the advantages of water and laser cutting into one operation. The laser beam is entirely contained within the water jet as a parallel beam, similar in principle to the optical fiber. This facilitates accurate cutting of porous or layered materials with minimal thermal and structural distortion.
Combining Makino's high-precision machine technology and GE's fine-hole drilling software, this new technology provides efficient hole drilling. In June 2014, the company broke ground on its first-ever Power & Water Advanced Manufacturing Facility in Greenville, SC, which will serve as an incubator for innovative advanced manufacturing process development and rapid prototyping. It will allow the company to bring breakthrough technologies to market even faster, driving technical innovation and ultimately greater productivity at a lower cost and greater reliability for customers.
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