A so-called “3D painting” technique that can be used to build or repair components has been developed by researchers at GE’s Surface Technologies Laboratory.
Dubbed Cold Spray, the technique involves spraying metal powders at high velocities in order to build a part or add material to an existing component.
According to GE, it could enable engineers to extend the lifespan of critical components by decades and help transform repair processes for industrial and aircraft components such as rotors, blades, shafts, propellers, and gear boxes. What’s more, because the technique doesn’t require heat, it allows a repaired part to be restored close to its original condition.
The technique is claimed to be particularly attractive for the production or repair of larger structures, which are too big for today’s powder-bed additive manufacturing processes.
Researchers within GE’s Oil and Gas business are already looking at using cold spray as an alternative way of coating parts used in drilling operations.