Naval Group and Centrale Nantes print full scale naval propeller blade

JUNE 22, 2018 — French naval defense specialist Naval Group (the former DCNS) and engineering school Centrale Nantes have printed the first full-scale propeller blade demonstrator for military applications to be produced using additive manufacturing.

The large, geometrically complex, propeller blade weighs over 300 kg.

Mastering the production process for large parts paves the way for the manufacture of more geometrically complex propellers, says Centrale Nantes, adding that with additive manufacturing it is possible to design parts that could not be made previously with standard production technologies.

french3dpropvertBy lifting the limits imposed by traditional processes, this disruptive technology paves the way for innovative parts design and assembly, and thus for the production of propellers providing greater efficiency, performance, stealth and weight savings.

"Printing this demonstrator is a major step towards the manufacture of innovative propellers by additive manufacturing," says Vincent Geiger, Director of Naval Group's Naval Research Technology Research Center. "These initial results mean that it's possible to envisage the short-term commissioning of differentiated propellers for the ships that will use them."

Professor Jean-Yves Hascoët, who heads up the Rapid Manufacturing Platform at Centrale Nantes, is an international expert on additive manufacturing. He says that "additive manufacturing is a process that offers unlimited possibilities: less material used, integration of additional features and geometrically-complex parts assembly. It allows for new designs, weight savings, lower manufacturing costs."

Centrale Nantes says it has the industrial means and the extensive expertise in trajectory generation and additive manufacturing required for blade production.

Founded in 1919, Centrale Nantes is a member of the Ecoles Centrales Group. Its undergraduate, Masters and PhD programs are based on the latest scientific and technological developments and best management practices.

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