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Development of Aero Engine Component Manufacture using Laser Additive Manufacturing (MERLIN)
Start date: Jan 1, 2011, End date: Dec 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The concept of the MERLIN project is to reduce the environmental impact of air transport using Additive Manufacturing (AM) techniques in the manufacture of civil aero engines. MERLIN will develop AM techniques, at the level 1 stage, to allow environmental benefits including near 100% material utilisation, current buy to fly ratios result in massive amounts of waste, no toxic chemical usage and no tooling costs, to impact the manufacture of future aero engine components. All of these factors will drastically reduce emissions across the life-cycle of the parts. There will also be added in-service benefits because of the design freedom in AM. Light-weighting, and the performance improvement of parts will result in reduced fuel consumption and reduced emissions. MERLIN will seek to develop the state-of-the-art by producing higher performance additive manufactured parts in a more productive, consistent, measurable, environmentally friendly and cost effective way.The MERLIN consortia has identified the following areas where a progression of the state-of-the art is needed to take advantage of AM:• Productivity increase.• Design or Topology optimisation.• Powder recycling validation.• In-process NDT development.• In-process geometrical validation.• High specification materials process development.The MERLIN consortium comprises six world leading aero engine manufacturers, Rolls-Royce is the coordinator, six renowned RTD providers and two intelligent SME’s. Impacts will include the development of high value, disruptive AM technologies capable of step changes in performance which will safeguard EU companies in the high value aero engine manufacturing field. AM will significantly reduce waste in an industry where materials require massive amounts of energy and toxic chemicals, in-process toxic chemical usage will be massively reduced, and emissions will drop because of the reduced amount of material involved.

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