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Innovative Electrical Discharge Surface Treatment Technology “MSCoating®” Applied to GE90 for Boeing 777 - IHI licenses its technology jointly developed with Mitsubishi Electric to GE -

-April 21, 2016-

press

Tokyo, April 21, 2016 – IHI Corporation (”IHI”) announced today that an innovative electrical discharge surface treatment technology MSCoating® (Micro-Spark Coating, hereinafter, "MSC") that IHI and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (”Mitsubishi Electric”) jointly developed has been applied to a component of GE90 engine, which General Electric Company (“GE”, USA) manufacture for Boeing 777 and IHI is participating as a risk and revenue sharing partner with GE. IHI concluded a license agreement with GE in February 2015 for the first time as MSC with the foreign companies, and GE began repairs using MSC. In addition to this, IHI concluded a processing agreement with Avio Aero S.p.A. (“Avio”, Italy) in July 2015 and apply MSC on the Avio component.

MSC is a film coating technology using the principle of electrical discharge machining that can be applied to a variety of metal part surface. Also, it can stably form an excellent high-quality functional film(*1) to such as wear resistance and heat resistance. In addition, since it is also easy to incorporate a dedicated device to a production line, it can reduce labor costs.

IHI and Mitsubishi Electric started joint research in 1999 and have developed MSC in 2003. After the development, IHI proceeded with marketing mainly in aviation engine that high durability is required, then, it has been adopted on the "CF34" engine parts in 2007 for the first time as a wear resistance coating for Low Pressure Turbine blades.

Under the agreements between GE, Avio and IHI, MSC has been newly applied to "Low-Pressure Turbine Stage 6 Blade" of the GE90 engine. MSC, which has significant improvement in wear characteristics in engine operation environment, is expected to extend the component’s on-wing life. MSC has been adopted because its superiority has been confirmed in comparison with the conventional hard-face component welding, and because of its superior performance on “CF34” engine parts.

Based on the agreement with GE, IHI has delivered jigs and coating blocks and has provided technical training to GE. Mitsubishi Electric has also delivered a dedicated electrical discharge surface treatment machine. GE McAllen (Texas, USA) has begun the repair using MSC for the stage 6 blades for the airline in the world. In addition, IHI has started the commissioned process of MSC at IHI Soma No.1 Works (Fukushima, Japan).

IHI has a plan to expand business to apply MSC to other aviation engine parts in the future. In addition, IHI will continue to contribute to the development of manufacturing in the world by promoting MSC, which was originally developed by the both companies, in a variety of fields, such as gas turbines and automobiles not only in the aviation sector.

*1 Functional Film : Coating on metal for additional capability of intensity, heat-resistant and preservation.

<Reference>
Background of MSC development
Conventionally, surface treatment of metal parts for aviation engines in aerospace industry was by welding, thermal spraying or plating. However, these methods had negative effects such as thermal deformation, cracking and stripping during machining process. Therefore, IHI and Mitsubishi Electric jointly developed MSC which processes by discharging electrode comprised of coating constituents such as metal and ceramics that is wear resistance and heat resistance from medium to high temperature condition and stably forms high-quality functional film.

Principal of MSC
Electrode, made by solidifying powder of material to be coated, is placed in insulating oil with base material. Voltage is applied which causes repetitive pulsed discharge of approximately 10,000 times per second between electrode and base material. As a result, material of electrode will migrate to become a layer on base material. Patents related to MSC technology of both parties have been approved in 15 countries.

Advantage of MSC
Main methods of surface coating for metals are conventionally welding, thermal spraying and plating, however, MSC has advantage against these methods as follows.

(1)  Small deformation of base material and no cracks
  Welding causes deformation and cracks due to large thermal contraction. However, MSC locally and repeatedly produces fine of diameter at micron level by pulsed discharge, and melted electrode creates layer on base material. As a result, contraction of base material is limited and deformation is small with no cracks.
(2) No stripping of film
  Since metal is only attached on the surface of base material by thermal spraying and plating, there is risk of stripping while MSC will not strip since deposited metal is melted in base material.
(3) No pretreatment - Accurate process achieved
  MSC only coats discharging areas between electrode and base material and does not need pretreatment like masking for thermal spraying and plating. 
(4)  Stable quality – No dependent skills
  Welding is carried out manually by skilled operators in order to ensure quality. However, by using MSC Dedicated Discharging Surface Treatment Equipment and process mechanically, stable quality is ensured without dependent of skilled operators.
(5) Small scale equipment – Possibility of installing into production line
  Thermal spraying and plating facilities are large scale and unable to install into production line while MSC Dedicated Discharging Surface Treatment Equipment is small scale and can be installed into production line. 
   
   

 




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