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Engines – Going the distance

A 3D printing process developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory repairs and strengthens a Cummins engine without the need to recast parts, which reduces costs and saves energy. Credit: Brittany Cramer/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

September 5, 2017 – Diesel engine maker Cummins, Inc., is working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop a material to repair heavy-duty vehicle engines damaged by a million miles of extreme conditions under the hood. Rather than replacing an engine’s cylinder head, the research team “scooped out” the worn section and used additive manufacturing to deposit a high-performance alloy better than the original casting. The goal of the process, developed at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL, is to save energy while extending the life of the engine and making it stronger. “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.”