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Siemens reports successful full load tests of additively manufactured CM247 gas turbine blades

Siemens has achieved a breakthrough by finishing its first full load engine tests for gas turbine blades completely produced using Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology. The company successfully validated multiple AM printed turbine blades with a conventional blade design at full engine conditions—the components were tested at 13,000 revolutions per minute and temperatures beyond 1,250 degrees Celsius.

Furthermore, Siemens tested a new blade design with a completely revised and improved internal cooling geometry manufactured using the AM technology. The project team used blades manufactured at its 3D printing facility at Materials Solutions, in Worcester, UK. Siemens acquired a majority stake (85%) in Materials Solutions in August 2016. (The remaining 15% is held by the founder, Carl Brancher.)

Siemens finished its first full load engine tests for conventional and completely new designed CM247 gas turbine blades produced using Additive Manufacturing technology. Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens AG, presented the blade at the AGM earlier this month. Click to enlarge.

Materials Solutions in Worcester is a pioneer in the use of Selective Laser Melting (SLM) technology for the manufacture of high-performance metal parts. A specialty of the company is making turbomachinery parts, particularly high-temperature applications for gas turbines in which accuracy, surface finish and the highest quality of the materials is critical to ensure operational performance of the parts in service.

The tests were conducted at the Siemens testing facility in the industrial gas turbine factory in Lincoln, UK.

This is a breakthrough success for the use of Additive Manufacturing in the power generation field, which is one of the most challenging applications for this technology. Additive Manufacturing is one of our main pillars in our digitalization strategy. The successful tests were the result of a dedicated international project team with contributions from Siemens engineers in Finspång, Lincoln and Berlin together with experts from Materials Solutions. With our combined know-how in 3D printing, we will continue to drive the technological development and application in this field.

—Willi Meixner, CEO of the Siemens Power and Gas Division

The blades were installed in a Siemens SGT-400 industrial gas turbine with a capacity of 13 megawatts (MW). The AM turbine blades are made out of a powder of high performing polycrystalline nickel superalloy (CM247), allowing them to endure high pressure, hot temperatures and the rotational forces of the turbine’s high speed operation.

At full load each of these turbine blades is travelling at more than 1,600 km/h, carrying 11 tons or equivalent to a fully loaded London bus, is surrounded by gas at 1,250 °C and cooled by air at more than 400 °C. The advanced blade design tested in Lincoln provides improved cooling features that can increase overall efficiency of the Siemens gas turbines.

The blades had to endure 13,000 revolutions per minute and temperatures beyond 1,250 ˚C. Click to enlarge.

Additive Manufacturing is a process that builds parts layer-by-layer from sliced CAD models to form solid objects. Also known as 3D printing, it especially provides benefits in rapid prototyping.

Siemens has a broad knowledge in essential areas such as materials sciences, automation, manufacturing and process know how and is thus in a great position to shape the future in the 3D printing industry. The successful test of the advanced blade design is the next step in order to use the full potential of AM. Siemens is developing unique gas turbine designs which are only possible with AM and extends its serial production for printed turbine equipment.

Siemens extensively uses AM technology for rapid prototyping and has already introduced serial production solutions for components in the gas turbines’ compressor and combustion system. In February 2016 Siemens opened a new production facility for 3D printed components in Finspång, Sweden. The first 3D printed component for a Siemens heavy-duty gas turbine has been in commercial operation since July 2016.


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3D printing is super interesting now that it is not just limited to plastics but also high strengths high temperature metal alloys. Space X uses it a lot for their Falcon 9 rocket and coming Dragon spaceship.

More here

As I read Siemens achievement it is that 3D printing is now possible for full scale gas turbine blades as used in large power plants. However, it is only economic for prototyping that now take 1/10 the time. They still do not use 3D printing for mass fabrication of turbine blades.

Perhaps Siemens tech can also be used for developing large fans for supersonic electric aircrafts like for the vertical takeoff and landing aircraft Musk is talking about making one day. If they can do mark 2 I could imagine that the fan needs to rotates at speeds that make them very hot so it could be the same kind of alloy that is needed as for a gas turbine.


Could this technology be expanded to produce large wind mill blades with heating/defrost capabilities for operation in cold climates, snow and freezing rain?

Reduced mass production would be acceptable. Shape and design could be upgraded to max wind energy transfer, specially at lower wind speed/velocity.


I think there could be great economies in 3d printed turbines. Its like cars, the first one cost millions, the rest are for profit.

Think of what goes into the process of making it. powdered metal, possibly shielding gasses, and possibly some coolant VS machining an incredibly complex part one facet at a time with hundreds of separate operations and man hours making the one thing.

3d printed plastic is almost total waste (unless its highly complex), and anything metal that can be stamped out would be a waste (so much of the auto world).

The more complex the item is, the more likely they can make it profitable by 3d printing it. I see the turbine being something they could make good money on. That part is extremely complex, and would likely have been machined from some billet piece of metal. The one with the cooling design would have likely never been machined/ made without 3d.


I'd also wager that the fin showed here is cheaper to 3d print, and faster to 3d print than making it the conventional way.

You could invest in the 3d printers once, and use it across almost all of your product lines current and future. That to me sounds like a great investment. If they can control surface finish accurately with this additive tech then it is very precise.

if they can do this fin, basically they are saying to the world that 3d printing is now virtually limitless when it comes to metal.

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