India’s first ‘Cold Spray’ SMART lab launched

Chennai: The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) on Friday announced its collaboration with American conglomerate General Electric (GE) to set up a lab that will develop advanced services technology for aircraft engine components.

The ‘Cold Spray’ SMART (Surface Modification and Additive Research Technologies) Laboratory is the first-of-its-kind being installed in any academic institute in India.

It is an emerging technology for advanced manufacturing and services and will be utilised to co-develop processes for aero-engine applications.

“Cold spray technology is different from other widely used thermal spray processes in that there is no melting and oxidation of powders. Thus, high quality coatings can be produced,” Professor M. Kamaraj from the IIT, said in a statement.

“Moreover, the deposition rates are very high, leading to less powder wastage and it can be used for additive manufacturing and repair of components,” he added.

As part of the collaborative efforts, IIT-M would develop advanced coatings meeting specifications of aerospace standard.

India’s Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) market for civilian aircraft is expected to grow at seven per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from its current value of Rs 4,800 crore.

The new programme will enable the strengthening of the MRO ecosystem in the country, help develop advanced technology expertise in the country and skill development of engineers in additive technology, the statement said.

The smart technology has application temperatures that are much lower than other thermal-spray and welding processes, which means the distortion and stresses associated with those repair techniques are avoided, leading to longer asset life.

“Scientists at GE are already combining gas dynamic ‘cold spray’ deposition technology with robotics and Machine Learning to build and repair metal parts using additive manufacturing with greater precision which was never a possibility earlier,” said Steve Pisani, General Manager-Advanced Services Technologies, GE Aviation, US.