Oct 3, 2017 | By Benedict

Safran Helicopter Engines has launched Aneto, a new family of high-power engines. The Aneto-1K, which is being used in aerospace company Leonardo’s AW189K helicopter, has 3D printed components in its combustion chamber, as well as 3D printed inlet guide vanes.

We see a lot of aerospace news in the 3D printing world, but the large bulk of it is, unsurprisingly, to do with airplanes and their various components. Not so today, because Safran Helicopter Engines has announced the launch of a new high-power helicopter engine family containing 3D printed components.

Designed for the super-medium and heavy helicopter market, Safran’s new engines incorporate what the company calls “ground-breaking technologies,” with the Aneto family set to feature several models spanning the 2500 to 3000+ shaft horsepower (shp) range.

“Aneto" is also the name of the highest mountain in the Pyrenees, a magnificent protrusion that reaches a height of 3,404 meters. This follows the Safran tradition of naming its engines after areas of the Pyrenees mountains, which overlook the company’s Bordes headquarters. Safran says the new engine name “symbolizes new levels of power and performance we are now able to reach.”

The partially 3D printed Aneto engines were unveiled at Helitech International, an international helicopter exhibition in London.

“Launching the Aneto engine family here in Helitech marks a major milestone for Safran Helicopter Engines,” commented Bruno Even, President of Safran Helicopter Engines. “It is the result of a long and sustained strategy of technology acquisition and maturation.”

The Aneto-1K, Safran’s first 2,500 shp model, has been implemented into aerospace and defense company Leonardo’s twin-engine AW189K helicopter, which currently uses a GE Aviation CT7 powerplant, rated at 1,980 shp at take-off.

The Aneto-1K was first tested on the Leonardo AW189K back in March, and the engine is set to enter service (on the AW189K and other vehicles) in the final quarter of 2018. Leonardo will, however, continue to use the GE engine as well.

“This new turboshaft engine will offer our customers a high level of performance and further extend the capabilities and versatility of our super medium platform, particularly in hot and high conditions,” said Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director at Leonardo Helicopters. “Operators will also benefit from Safran's longstanding experience in the helicopter market as well as from its strong worldwide support network.”

The Aneto engines will contain a four-stage compressor, a new combustion chamber made up of 3D printed parts, and 3D printed inlet guide vanes—features that will result in impoved performance and fewer expenses.

“We are convinced that Aneto will offer a new level of performance coupled with reduced operating costs,” Even said.

Safran says that, thanks to an “exceptional” power-to-volume ratio, the new Aneto engines will offer 25 per cent more power when compared to existing engines of same volume. This will provide increased capabilities, especially for offshore, search and rescue, fire-fighting, or military transport missions.

An important part of the Aneto family is the Tech 3000 technological demonstrator, which enables Safran to validate designs and technologies that are capable of delivering “up to 15 per cent better fuel economy” compared to competitors’ models.

Technologies tested on the Tech 3000 will gradually be introduced to Aneto engines over time, depending on factors like power requirements and entry-into-service timeframes.

Safran also says that its new Aneto engines require less maintenance, with fewer scheduled maintenance tasks and longer maintenance intervals. A health monitoring system will allow engineers to keep an eye on an engine’s status, while Safran has also developed an online engine maintenance management service called “BOOST” that can be used to keep tabs on any live engines.

While the Aneto engines are primarily designed for next-generation rotorcraft in the 8-15t-class range, they can also replace older engines in existing helicopters.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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