New Optomec White Paper Compares Manual and Automated Processes for Aviation Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO)

Albuquerque, NM – February 20, 2020: Optomec — a leading, privately-held global supplier of production-grade additive manufacturing equipment and software today announced it has published a new white paper showing how automated laser cladding for gas turbine engine repair can provide 184% return on investment (ROI) over manual processes.  Optomec commissioned the independent study conducted by Mr. Terry VanderWert PE, a 40-year veteran in the laser process industry.  VanderWert’s objective investigation into current MRO practices and challenges within the aviation industry is summarized in the white paper: The Business Case for Automated Laser Cladding in Aviation Component Repair: Five Lessons Learned.

“The world’s leading aviation companies use automated laser cladding for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul– yet roughly 80% of all blade and vane repair is still done manually today,” said Mike Dean, Marketing Director at Optomec.  “The goal with this paper was to show how small and mid-size service centers can take advantage of laser cladding while achieving an ROI on their investment and improving MRO quality.”

The stakes are high when it comes to aviation MRO.  Reduced production levels of the 737 Boeing MAX, which has been grounded worldwide for almost a year, means older aircrafts will be in service longer and puts increased pressure on MRO service centers to improve efficiency and quality. Aviation Week also calls out part shortage as a key trend in its top ten MRO market predictions for 2020.

The white paper will help readers gain a better understanding of how laser cladding has helped MRO service centers and aircraft engine OEMs make repairs faster and with higher yield. It will provide an objective case study and useful business insights.  Other information included in this report:

  • Quality and Throughput Comparison of manual welding vs. automated laser cladding for blade Tip and Z-Form repair
  • Cost comparison for manual vs. automated processing using customer data for Z-Form and Tip repair
  • Return on Investment, Internal Rate of Return, and Payback Period with sensitivity analysis
  • Other business considerations including the need for a repair process that can automatically adapt to part to part differences, downstream considerations such a post-cladding metal finishing, best practices in developing repair tool path programs, and more.

Findings from the white paper along with sample parts repaired using automated laser cladding will be on display in Optomec’s booth (#2129) at the MRO Americas 2020 Convention, April 28-30, at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.

About Optomec
Optomec is a privately-held, rapidly growing supplier of Additive Manufacturing systems. Optomec’s patented Aerosol Jet Systems for printed electronics and LENS and Huffman 3D Printers for metal components are used by industry to reduce product cost and improve performance. Together, these unique printing solutions work with the broadest spectrum of functional materials, ranging from electronic inks to structural metals and even biological matter. Optomec has more than 300 marquee customers around the world, targeting production applications in the electronics, energy, life sciences and aerospace industries. For more information about Optomec, visit


LENS is a registered trademark of Sandia National Labs; Aerosol Jet is a registered trademark of Optomec.

AutoClad is a common trademark of Optomec, Inc.


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