Aerospace and defence company Pratt & Whitney has revealed the use of 3D-printing to manufacture an aero-engine component.

The application is said to be a first in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of commercial engines.

Pratt & Whitney’s engineering experts and repair specialists in Component Aerospace Singapore have collaborated with ST Engineering’ Land Systems business for the technology.

The technology will provide flexible repair solutions to support Pratt & Whitney engines and is expected to be implemented in the repair process by mid-2020.

Pratt & Whitney Component Aerospace Singapore principal engineer Chin-Huat Sia said: “3D printing will be a game-changer for the MRO industry worldwide, especially in servicing even more commercial engines. This technology enables greater flexibility in our inventory management.

“Following this trailblazing initiative, both Pratt & Whitney and ST Engineering will examine how additive manufacturing can be applied for other aviation components and other engine types, and further developed to enable hybrid repairs and realise the full potential of 3D printing for commercial aftermarket operations.”

The first 3D-printed part will be implemented in one of Pratt & Whitney’s engine model fuel system component.

The two companies have also ensured the in-house quality and process systems meet the standards of Pratt & Whitney.

Pratt & Whitney’s Component Aerospace Singapore provides engine part repairs for combustion chambers, fuel system components, tubes, ducts and manifolds for the V2500 and PW4000 engines.

In a separate development, United Technologies division Pratt & Whitney launched Customer Advantage Plan (CAP), a single point of contact for its Bell 212, 412, 427 and 429 helicopter customers.