Tooling-Free On-Demand Repeatable Ceramic Engineered Components

Period of Performance: 09/30/2015 - 09/29/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Renaissance Services
1825 Corporate Center Blvd
Fairborn, OH 45324
Principal Investigator


This Phase I SBIR project demonstrates how ?CAD as tooling,? coupled with additive manufacturing, will ultimately prove the viability of ?on-demand? ceramic process aids for all legacy turbine airfoil investment castings. This in turn, will reduce the leadtime for ceramic process aids by 95% and save up to $750,000 per casting part number in tooling costs. This capability is driven by the need to support legacy aircraft and engines critical to warfighter readiness. Acquisition of complex legacy jet engine turbine airfoils is characterized by high cost, long leadtimes, and a limited number of sources. These airfoils start as investment castings, using high temperature nickel-based alloys. Their production requires essential process aids in the form of ceramic cores and molds that are formed using sophisticated machined tooling for injection of the ceramic materials required for the investment casting process. A key stumbling block in providing cast turbine airfoils is availability of tooling to produce ceramic cores and molds. Additive manufacturing for these components eliminates hard tooling, including machined core dies. Digital data effectively replaces conventional core die injection tooling; ceramic cores and molds for investment castings can be designed and produced without the need for machined steel dies and related fixtures.