Melbourne Makes History With World’s First 3D Printed Jet Engine

Melbourne’s Monash University and AMAERO Engineering have captured the attention of global aviation industry giants by creating the world’s first 3D printed jet engine.

The manufacturing breakthrough will lead to cheaper, lighter and more fuel efficient jets, and will also have an impact cross-sectorally in fields such as medical technology, according to engineers and researchers.

3d printing jet engine

The project was initiated when French aerospace company, Microturbo (Safran), donated a fully functional older jet engine to the team at Monash, which was then taken apart and intricately scanned.

Working from their base in Notting Hill (20 minutes south-east of central Melbourne), researchers at AMAERO Engineering, in partnership with Monash University worked to replicate the complex metallic instruments by laser-based additive manufacturing, also known as 3-D printing.

Ben Batagol, of AMAERO Engineering, said: “The project is a spectacular proof of concept that’s leading to significant contracts with aerospace companies. It was a challenge for the team and pushed the technology to new heights of success – no one has printed an entire engine commercially yet.”

The project has attracted the interest of global industry giants, Boeing, Airbus and defence manufacturer, Raytheon.

Professor Ian Smith, Monash University’s Vice Provost for Research and Research Infrastructure, said: “Australia’s manufacturing industries need access to the latest technologies to stay competitive. “This Centre allows them to rapidly prototype metal devices across a wide range of industries. It’s part of a large integrated suite of facilities for research and industry at Monash.”

Two engines have now been successfully ‘printed’ as part of the project. One of these was on display at the Australian International Airshow, a biennial event taking that took place in Avalon (one hour southwest of Melbourne) in February.

Monash and AMAERO Engineering have signalled their intention to expand their work into other fields of additive manufacturing, including medical and bio technology. The jet engine project, AMAERO and the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing have been supported by government via the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Commonwealth Research Council (CRC) program, Commercialisation Australia, the Science and Industry Endowment Fund, Monash University and Safran.

Jean-François Rideau, head of R&T from Microturbo (Safran), said: “Monash and AMAERO are already key partners for our new developments and we are keen to have their help in developing new technologies for our future engines.”

Melbourne is Australia’s knowledge, innovation and technology capital, and is home to many of Australia’s R&D initiatives. As the dominant force in the Australian research and development arena, the city has a large cluster of research institutes, universities, CRCs and technology parks. Dynamic businesses and corporations thrive throughout the state, making it a positive place to develop and exchange innovative ideas.

John Butler, Victorian Commissioner to the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, said: “This achievement is great news for Victoria, and it reflects the enormous strength of our aviation and aerospace industry.”

“It is a billion dollar industry that employs more than 22,000 people, including some of the best and brightest aviation engineers in the world. All that talent and innovation makes Victoria an extremely attractive place to do aviation business.”

Mr Butler continued: “This historic achievement serves to reinforce Victoria’s reputation as a leader in aviation, aerospace engineering and advancing manufacturing. Victoria is a global centre of excellence in the global aviation and aerospace industry, with expertise in all areas of the industry from research and development through to final manufacture and production.


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