Bescast and GE - LEAP Engine Design

The story of Bescast and the GE LEAP engine is one of timing, innovation and fortitude. Thanks to our forward-thinking attitude, we were able to participate in a golden moment in aviation history that still affects today's industry.

Read on to learn more about our involvement in developing the LEAP fuel nozzle.

Bescast and GE LEAP Engine

Before the GE LEAP Engine

General Electric Aircraft, the precursor to GE Aviation (now GE Aerospace), took an interest in Bescast's capabilities as far back as the 1960s. The uncommon combination of our pattern shop's machining capabilities and our growing knowledge of the casting process appealed to GE and numerous aerospace customers. The can-do attitude of Bescast's managers was the key to our early successes in aerospace investment castings. Major aerospace manufacturers soon relied on Bescast to develop new castings, and the stage was set for our involvement with the GE LEAP engine.

The First Steps Toward the GE LEAP Engine

Fast forward to  2010, when we were approached to create a simple casting of a new and innovative design for a proposal to GE Aviation's fuel nozzle design team. The Bescast team delivered the casting in just 10 days. Six months later, GE Aviation's fuel nozzle team contacted us to see if we'd be interested in working on a development program for a next-generation fuel delivery system, later known as Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion (LEAP). 

Thus began our first significant coengineering design effort, a new endeavor for Bescast. We invested in ProCAST software, which uses finite element analysis (FEA) to simulate casting processes without the need for creating actual castings for our LEAP engine components. We then started the challenging process of providing feedback on GE's designs through a series of trials with evolving concepts from the GE team.

The first models were printed in rapid prototype wax, gated, cast and inspected. Using ProCAST simulations, we analyzed GE's designs for potential casting defects. Designing a process that would yield a shrink-free part was a difficult task, and the software required the adjustment of numerous variables based on validation using actual casting trials.

Innovating With the GE LEAP Engine

GE's designs pushed the envelope of castability with the goal of balancing strength and weight for all components. Starting in 2012, we conducted more than 50 simulations on 16 unique models before arriving at five options for actual casting trials. Thanks to our concurrent engineering over the previous three years, GE and Bescast decided in 2013 on the best option for the first engine tests. 

Bescast took advantage of the latest rapid prototype technologies with a high-definition printed pattern to meet the program's schedule. The pattern supplier and our development team overcame many startup challenges on the way to creating our LEAP engine fuel nozzle components. The project also presented challenges to the shelling process because of the length of the component's internal passage.

Success With the GE LEAP Engine

Despite the many challenges, the resulting casting quality was outstanding. We've since created and shipped thousands of parts for engine tests and production builds. The success of the larger project was equally impressive.

Bescast and GE

With the LEAP engine, GE was able to achieve reductions of: 

  • 15% in fuel consumption
  • 75% in noise in areas around airports
  • Over 50% in harmful emissions

The company sold more than 8,000 engines before the first engine was built, and the GE LEAP engine has become a cornerstone of everyday flying. CFM International, the joint venture GE Aviation formed for the engine, now controls 72% of the narrowbody aircraft market. Our development of its jet engine fuel nozzles plays a critical role in that success.

Frequently Asked Questions About
the GE LEAP Engine

Creating the GE LEAP engine was a complicated endeavor, and we're proud of our involvement in developing its jet fuel nozzles. Read the following questions to learn more.

How Do Jet Fuel Nozzles Work?

Jet fuel nozzles work by accelerating a fluid, typically a liquid or gas, to a high velocity and directing it in a certain direction.

What Is the Future Outlook for Technologies Used in the LEAP Engine?

With the LEAP engine fleet projected to grow over the next decade, the future is bright for the technologies used in the engine.

How Has the Collaboration Between Bescast and GE Influenced the Aerospace Industry?

The collaboration between Bescast and GE demonstrated the power of coengineering projects to accomplish complex goals.

Turn to Bescast for Your
Next Investment Casting Project

Since our success with the GE LEAP engine, we've used ProCAST and our coengineering capabilities to help customers of all sizes achieve their goals for stainless steel castings and other components. You, too, can take advantage of everything we offer. Contact us today to see how working with Bescast can benefit your next project. 

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