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Badly eroded heavy-duty ve­hi­cle en­gines may soon be able to be re­paired us­ing 3D print­ing af­ter suc­cess­ful tri­als by diesel en­gine maker Cum­mins and Oak Ridge Na­tional Lab­o­ra­tory.

Rather than re­plac­ing cylin­der heads dam­aged by a mil­lion miles of ex­treme con­di­tions, the re­search team has ‘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 the US Depart­ment of En­ergy’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,” Cum­mins parts R&D en­gi­neer Nikhil Doiphode says. “While th­ese are not brand-new en­gines, we’re striv­ing to make them bet­ter than new.” http://bit.ly/TradeEarthCum­mins2

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