The 1.5m diameter 3D printed part will be installed in an Airbus A380.
The 1.5m diameter 3D printed part will be installed in an Airbus A380.

The construction of the bearing marks the first time ALM has been used to produce such a significant load bearing component, rather than the conventional processes of casting or forging, and later this year when an Airbus A380, containing the XWB-97 engine, takes off it will be the first time one has been airborne.

The printing was done following research and testing carried out at the University of Sheffield’s Mercury Centre.

Increasing confidence

The center has been working directly with Rolls-Royce to develop its ALM techniques through a program of testing, research and quality assurance.

‘The fundamental research work we conduct gives a strong underpinning to development activities that are closer to application providing insights into the process that increase confidence in its capabilities,’ said professor of metallurgy and materials processing and a director of the Mercury Centre, Iain Todd. ‘That the activity we initiated here has facilitated this huge step forward in additive manufacture is a wonderful thing to see.’