Grant will fund research for new repair capabilities for high value blisks

Albuquerque, New Mexico, 10 June 2008: Optomec announced today that the US Navy has awarded the company with a Small Business Innovative Research grant to develop a new repair capability to restore aircraft engine blisks. Optomec’s proposal was supported by both GE Aviation, and Pratt and Whitney, the two leading suppliers of gas turbine engines to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Aircraft engines can be damaged by foreign objects entering the engine and hitting the fast spinning airfoils. Modern jet engines use integrally-bladed rotors, often known as blisks, which are made using materials of the highest quality in order to improve efficiency while ensuring safety. To repair these components, material added to restore the damaged blisk airfoils must meet the same stringent property requirements as new components. During the last five years of development work, the LENS system has proven its ability over competing processes in blisk repair because it has been shown to be uniquely capable of producing material with the desired shape, structure and properties for this demanding application. In addition, the LENS process has demonstrated economic viability to repair blisks that would otherwise cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace.

Dave Ramahi, President of Optomec, said “This award continues to extend Optomec’s lead in providing a commercial system for blisk repair. The U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and many aircraft engine OEMs have shown a strong interest in this capability as the industry’s need hasn’t been successfully addressed by other repair techniques.” Richard Grylls, LENS Product Manager, added “The selection of the LENS technology is further validation of the exceptional quality of LENS-produced material, and its utility in critical aerospace repair applications. Components repaired with the LENS process offer material properties that meet or exceed industry’s most demanding requirements.”

Optomec is the world leading provider of additive manufacturing systems for high-performance applications in the Aerospace & Defense, Electronics, and Biomedical markets. These systems utilize Optomec’s proprietary M3D Aerosol Jet technology and LENS powder-metal fabrication and repair technology. The company has a global customer base of industry-leading manufacturers.

LENS is a registered trademark of Sandia Corporation.

M3D is a registered trademark of Optomec, Inc.