This production application utilizes Optomec’s Aerosol Jet technology to print passive strain sensors directly onto turbine blades used in an industrial gas turbine. The sensors are composed of a ceramic material that can withstand the very high operating temperatures seen in the hot section of the gas turbine. These sensors can detect deformations in the underlying metal that could ultimately result in an expensive and sometimes catastrophic failure.
GE recently unveiled this proprietary 3D Printed Sensor technology at their Future of Work Showcase in Boston. The data from the sensors has a direct tie to GE’s Predix software platform, demonstrating the digital convergence between Additive Manufacturing and the Internet of Things. A video showing this Aerosol Jet printing process integrated into a robotic work-cell at GE will be available in the Optomec booth.
Also, examples of printed electronic devices will be on display in the Optomec booth, along with a live demonstration of an Aerosol Jet 200 system for printed electronics used for a wide array printed electronics applications from R&D to high volume manufacturing. Optomec will also display fully printed and repaired 3D metal components produced by the company’s LENS customers that illustrate a range of 3D metal additive manufacturing capabilities.
In addition to the exhibition, Matthew Schrandt, Optomec Aerosol Jet applications engineer, will give a presentation titled “3D Printing of Flexible Circuits and Sensors.” Schrandt will explain how sensors can be printed onto 3D and flexible substrates using a variety of metal and resistive materials. Aerosol Jet is an ideal printing tool for precision deposition of polymeric and metal inks for these sensors. The process is a non-contact, high resolution printing technology that is compatible with a wide range of conductive, insulating and resistive materials. He will present the functionality of printed strain gauges and thermocouple sensors in terms of robustness with flexing, thermal coefficients, resistance stability, gauge performance and thermocouple Seebeck coefficient.