The production of aircraft engine turbine disks in China has been boosted by the introduction of a 36,000 metric ton (tonne) ferrous metal vertical extruder at Inner Mongolia North Heavy Industries Group. According to an article published in Avionics Intelligence, the extruder will fill the gap for large-tonnage machines in handling the extrusion of powder metallurgy (PM) alloy materials in China.
High-temperature PM alloy materials are key to producing high performance, high durability, and reliable turbine disks. The new machine will also make it possible to produce such key engine parts in vastly greater numbers.
The article also highlighted a major aircraft engine R&D project currently under review by the State Council in China, worth an estimated ¥100 billion yuan (approx. $16 billion US dollars).
“At present, aircraft engine design and manufacturing still has weak links in terms of materials, key parts, manufacturing equipment, processing precision, and measurement,” stated a professor at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA).
“Although the country is capable of producing aircraft engines, product performance is inadequate and mass production is yet to be realised,” he added.
It is estimated that China will need around 3,000 aircraft between now and 2026. This will create demand for some 6,500 aircraft engines worth approximately $65 billion US dollars.