Phase III of the Pacer Edge pathfinder successfully printed the first two parts in cobalt-chrome

 May 6, 2022

CINCINNATI, Ohio—Phase III of the U.S. Air Force’s Pace Edge program—a joint effort involving the USAF and GE—has focused on using 3D printing to manufacture four parts that are currently obsolete.

The parts include a bellcrank, a gearbox seat, an anti-icing valve body, and a cross shaft arm. The first two parts, the cross shaft arm and the bellcrank, were successfully printed in cobalt-chrome on a fleet of M2 Series 5 systems at GE Additive‘s facility in Cincinnati, according to a release from GE Additive.

The final phase of the program over the coming years is to establish the USAF’s own metal additive production infrastructure, initially at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. The goal is to use this capability to alleviate the long lead times that currently plague the casting and forging industries, according to the release.

“Pacer Edge represents a monumental step forward in innovative partnership with industry,” said John Sneden, director of propulsion, USAF, in the release. “Through this program, our enterprise team will deliver safe and timely propulsion readiness in support of the United States warfighter.”

The USAF is not the only entity struggling to receive castings and forgings in a timely manner. Long lead times remain a choke point for many industries and have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the release.

“Public-private initiatives, like the recently announced AM Forward initiative, will also help to address DoD’s sustainment and readiness challenges head on,” said Lauren Tubesing, director of operations, military programs at GE Additive, in the release. “Strengthening U.S. supply chains, by encouraging small and medium sized manufacturers across the United States to adopt metal additive technology, will create a nationwide network of a qualified additive manufacturing suppliers.”

The U.S. government has also issued a release on AM Forward, which can be read here.

Subscribe Now

Design-2-Part Magazine

Get the manufacturing industry news and features you need for free in a format you like.

FREE Print, Digital, or Both »

You have Successfully Subscribed!