Connecticut-based United Technologies Corporation (UTC) has announced a number of large investments into its research arm, UTRC, including plans for a $75 million ‘Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence.’
The United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) is UTC’s “innovation engine”, and the plans were unveiled at the opening of its new $60 million UTRC “innovation hub” facility in East Hartford. In addition to the additive manufacturing center, UTRC will also develop a $40 million Engine Compressor Research facility.
UTRC has facilities across the globe, but its headquarters in East Hartford will be the base of the new investments which total $115 million. According to the company,
The new Additive Manufacturing facility will accelerate deployment of a broad range of metal and polymer additive technologies across UTC businesses.
These businesses include aerospace company Pratt & Whitney that develops aircraft engines and is one of the main manufacturers alongside GE and Rolls Royce. GE has recently refined its manufacturing process with a considerable ‘LEAP’ into additive manufacturing, and it is understandable that Pratt & Whitney would scale up its own additive capabilities with research undertaken at the UTRC.
Implementing additive in aerospace
Pratt & Whitney is already very familiar with the additive manufacturing process. As the company explains it has 3D printed over 100,000 prototype parts over the years, and has used 3D printing to develop the PurePower aircraft engine which rivals GE’s LEAP. Expanding its capabilities, Pratt & Whitney recently entered into a partnership with additive manufacturing software providers Sigma Labs.
According to the UTRC, the new Engine Compressor Research facility will work with Pratt & Whitney to “develop and mature advanced compressor technologies for future commercial and military engines.” Dr. David Parekh, Corporate Vice President, Research, and Director, of UTRC spoke at the facility’s opening,
Today we are unveiling a clear demonstration of UTC’s commitment to investing in the breakthrough technologies that will help shape our future.