Diesel engine maker Cummins Inc. is working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to developing 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 of the cylinder head and used 3D printing to deposit a high-performance alloy patch 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 engines and making them stronger. “We’re decreasing the engine’s thermal conductivity, which holds heat in longer, and turning it into increased efficiency,” says Nikhil Doiphode, Cummins’ parts R&D engineer. “While these are not brand-new engines, we’re striving to make them better than new.”