Turbopumps are potentially the ideal application for metal additive manufacturing. However, printing high speed rotating parts with complex internal passages, or geometrically accurate flow pathways for volute sections has challenged conventional AM printers.
These parts work by boosting the pressure of a fluid in a very short distance without causing cavitation. To operate under extreme temperatures and pressure ranges and still perform at tens of thousands of RPM, engineers must precisely design and manufacture each component.
To optimize pump components, like impellers, engineers need to maximize pressure rise while avoiding cavitation. This results in designs with strict tolerances around blade angles and on the curvature of the internal hub. In addition, due to the high RPMs that these components see in operation, they must be tightly balanced, and spin tested. However, some new designs feature geometry that may be inaccessible to a drill bit or otherwise difficult to manufacture with existing techniques. This limits the design window available to engineers.
Another opportunity for optimization is in the supply chain. Current lead times for complex turbopump parts limit operators from being able to quickly recover downed equipment. An entire multi-million-dollar assembly may remain inoperative waiting for a part that costs only a few thousand dollars.
Velo3D’s end-to-end solutions provides the ability to print a wider range of geometries at a higher quality to support advanced turbopump design. Designers can implement the optimal design for blade and hub angles as well as other novel new features. Plus, unlike conventional printers, the Sapphire®®printer enables operators to print parts axisymmetric enabling them to be balanced for high RPM applications.
Furthermore, our printing process works synergistically with many post processing options to deliver on the designer’s intent enabling engineers to meet the material properties and surface finish requirements required. Combined with a comprehensive quality control system that monitors every layer of the process, you can be confident that your design meets specification.