Diesel engine maker Cummins, Inc., is working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to develop a material to repair heavy-duty vehicle engines damaged by a million miles of extreme conditions under the hood.
Instead of replacing an engine’s cylinder head, the research team “scooped out” the worn section and used additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, to deposit a high-performance alloy better than the original casting.
The goal of the process, developed at the Department of Energy's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL, is to repair vital engine parts without recasting and installing new ones. By applying the 3D printed segment, the engine is made stronger and its servicable life is extended, as well as saving the cost of manufacturing and installation of a new block.
“We’re decreasing the engine’s thermal conductivity, which holds heat in longer, and turning it into increased efficiency,” said Nikhil Doiphode, Cummins’ parts R&D engineer. “While these are not brand-new engines, we’re striving to make them better than new.”