A tool caddy inside America Makes’ laser melt system also was made using additive manufacturing techniques. (Credit: ACerS.)
The Youngstown-based America Makes—the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute—just announced the 15 winners of its RFP from last fall. According to the press release, America Makes “will provide $9 million in funding toward these projects with $10.3 million in matching cost share from the awarded project teams for total funding worth $19.3 million.”
Of the 15 projects, 13 are metals-based projects. Two projects—one led by University of Pittsburgh and the other by Case Western Reserve University—appear to be more general and, therefore, may apply to ceramic materials, too. It’s encouraging that one of the partners on the CWRU project is rp+m, whose new director of R&D is ceramic scientist, Ed Herderick.
I’ve griped before about the apparent lack of interest for writing RFPs that would address the challenges unique to additive manufacturing of ceramics. But, maybe I’m looking at this wrong. Strategically, maybe it makes sense to work out problems in systems that are easier to work with and then apply those lessons learned to ceramics and their more complex compositions. Besides, all metals want to be ceramics, and given the right conditions, will oxidize!
Here are the awards as described in the press release.
“In-Process Quality Assurance (IPQA) for Laser Powder Bed Production of Aerospace Components”
– General Electric Aviation
Led by General Electric Aviation, in partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne; B6 Sigma, Inc.; Burke E. Porter Machinery Company; Honeywell Aerospace; Montana Tech of The University of Montana; and TechSolve, Inc., this project will address the need for the development of a commercially available, platform-independent Quality Assurance technology for high-volume AM production of aerospace components, which is currently lacking within the industry. The proposed effort will be achieved through the maturation of an IPQA technology solution that leverages a development approach, incorporating multiple AM machines and multiple super alloys.
“Developing Topology Optimization Tools that Enable Efficient Design of AM Cellular Structures”
– University of Pittsburgh
Led by the University of Pittsburgh, in partnership with Acutec Precision Machining Inc.; Alcoa Inc.; ANSYS, Inc.; and ExOne, this project will develop robust software for design and optimization of AM structural designs based on cellular structures. The key innovation in this technology is the utilization of micromechanics models for capturing the effective behavior of cellular structures in finite element analysis (FEA). The results from this project will enable the AM community to optimize advanced cellular structures for the design and manufacture of lightweight and strong AM parts, impacting multiple commercial sectors.
“AM of Biomedical Devices from Bioresorbable Metallic Alloys for Medical Applications”
– McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh
Led by the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, in partnership with ExOne and Magnesium Elektron Powders, this project will develop AM methods to convert magnesium and iron-based alloys into biomedical devices, such as bone plates, tracheal stents, and scaffolds. Biocompatibility, bioresorption, and mechanical testing will be performed on the fabricated test specimens produced by a binder jet printing shape-making approach.
“Refining Microstructure of AM Materials to Improve Non-Destructive Inspection (NDI)”
Led by EWI, in partnership with Lockheed Martin and Sciaky, Inc., this project will address the need to improve the ability to ultrasonic inspect titanium alloy components for high-performance aerospace applications, which feature a complex microstructure created during the electron beam directed energy deposition and subsequent heat treatment processes, through the modification of deposition process parameters and advancement of ultrasonic inspection techniques.
“Development of Distortion Prediction and Compensation Methods for Metal Powder-Bed AM”
– GE Global Research
Led by GE Global Research, in partnership with 3DSim, Inc.; CDI Corporation; Honeywell Aerospace; Pan Computing LLC; Penn State University; United Technologies Research Center; and the University of Louisville, this project will benchmark and validate physics-based thermal distortion prediction and mitigation tools for metal powder-bed AM. The goal of this project is to achieve a significant reduction in development time enabled by physics-based distortion prediction and compensation tools. It is anticipated that this project will be foundational in establishing a standard set of AM design rules, distortion mitigation practices, and associated training for the entire AM supply base.
“Development of a Low-Cost ‘Lens® Engine'”
Led by Optomec, in partnership with Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control; MachMotion; TechSolve, Inc.; and U.S. Army Benet Laboratories, this project will enable a broad proliferation of metal AM through the development of a modular, cost-effective “LENS® Engine” for metal laser deposition, which can be installed into virtually any modern machine tool. To reach this goal, the latest in controls, toolpath generation, and quality monitoring are to be embedded in a modular design that can be easily upgraded and maintained as part of a machine tool system.
“Development of Knowledgebase of Deposition Parameters for Ti-6Al-4V and IN718”
Led by Optomec, in partnership with Applied Optimization Inc., this project will offer an efficient and reusable solution to define process parameters that result in defect-free deposition in metallic AM. The knowledgebase will consist of a matrix of permissible combinations of process parameter values that may be used in order to produce defect-free additive deposits using the LENS process. The knowledgebase will provide a process engineer the ability to select from a matrix of vetted process parameter combinations and minimize/eliminate the trial-and-error or cut-and-try approach to process development. The knowledgebase will be generated for two alloys of interest, Ti-6Al-4V and IN718.
“Automatic Finishing of Metal AM Parts to Achieve Required Tolerances & Surface Finishes”
– North Carolina State University
Led by North Carolina State University, in partnership with Advanced Machining; CalRAM Inc.; FineLine Prototyping, Inc.; Iowa State University; John Deere; Kennametal Inc.; and Productivity Inc., this project will address a critical need currently impeding the broader adoption of AM methodologies. The goal of this project is to create a system that will be able to produce a mechanical product to final geometric specification. A hybrid manufacturing system, using both additive and then subtractive processing, will be developed so that mechanical parts can be “digitally manufactured” to meet the necessary final geometric accuracy required.
“Electron Beam Melted Ti-6Al-4V AM Demonstration and Allowables Development”
– Northrop Grumman Corporation
Led by Northrop Grumman in partnership with CalRAM Inc.; Concurrent Technologies Corporation; General Electric; and Robert C. Byrd Institute, this project will demonstrate the full-scale component fabrication of electron beam (E-Beam) AM Ti-6Al-4V titanium alloy components, the development of a complete set of materials design allowables, and validation of non-destructive evaluation (NDE) methods on full-scale E-Beam AM demonstration components. Implementation opportunities for air and space structural components, as well as propulsion system components, will also be evaluated for transition to production.
“3D Printing Multi-Functionality: AM for Aerospace Applications”
– University of Texas – El Paso
Led by the University of Texas – El Paso, in partnership with Lockheed Martin; Northrop Grumman Corporation; rp+m, Inc.; Stratasys, Ltd.; The University of New Mexico; and Youngstown State University, a comprehensive manufacturing suite will be integrated into a base AM fabrication process to include 1) extrusion of a wide variety of robust thermoplastics/metals; 2) micromachining; 3) laser ablation; 4) embedding wires and fine-pitch meshes submerged within the thermoplastics; and 5) robotic component placement. Collectively, the integrated technologies will fabricate multi-material structures through the integration of multiple integrated manufacturing systems to provide multi-functional products like consumer wearable electronics, biomedical devices, and defense, space, and energy systems.
“Metal Alloys and Novel Ultra-Low-Cost 3D Weld Printing Platform for Rapid Prototyping and Production”
– Michigan Technological University
Led by Michigan Technological University, in partnership with Aleph Objects, Inc.; ASM International; Miller/ITW; ThermoAnalytics, Inc.; and The Timken Company, this project will focus on four interlinked tasks necessary to commercialize an ultra-low-cost 3D metal printer and develop new 3D printable alloys for it. Material development will focus on aluminum alloys, with the ultimate goal of developing a printable alloy from recycled beverage containers or cans.
“Accelerated Adoption of AM Technology in the American Foundry Industry”
– Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI)
Led by the Youngstown Business Incubator, in partnership with the American Foundry Society; ExOne; Humtown Products; Janney Capital Markets; and the University of Northern Iowa, this project team will support the transition of binder jet AM to the small business casting industry by allowing increased access to use of binder jet equipment and the development of design guidelines and process specifications.
“A Database Relating Powder Properties to Process Outcomes for Direct Metal AM”
– Carnegie Mellon University
Led by Carnegie Mellon University, in partnership with AMETEK Specialty Metal Products; ATI Powder Metals; CalRAM Inc.; Carpenter Powder Products Inc.; FineLine Prototyping, Inc.; Medical Modeling Corporation; North Carolina State University; Oxford Performance Materials; Pratt & Whitney; Robert C. Byrd Institute; TE Connectivity Ltd.; United Technologies Research Center; and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, this project will create a first-of-its-kind database relating powder properties (e.g., mean particle diameter, particle diameter distribution, particle morphology, metrics for flowability) from various suppliers to process outcomes (e.g., powder spreadability, powder ability to be sintered, melt pool geometry, microstructure, geometric precision, and material hardness). Additionally, for at least one powder system that is not immediately useable in a direct metal machine, the project will identify process variable changes needed to make that powder system yield outcomes comparable to standard powders.
“High-Throughput Functional Material Deposition Using a Laser Hot Wire Process”
– Case Western Reserve University
Led by Case Western Reserve University, in partnership with Aquilex Corporate Technology Center (AZZ, Inc.); Lincoln Electric Company; rp+m, Inc.; and RTI International Metals, this project will focus on the assessment of a laser-assisted, wire-based additive process developed by the Lincoln Electric Company for different high-throughput functional material deposition applications, and will benchmark it against a laser-/powder-based AM process.
“Optimization of Parallel Consolidation Method for Industrial Additive Manufacturing”
– Stony Creek Labs
Led by Stony Creek Labs, in partnership with Grid Logic; Michigan Economic Development Corporation; MSC; Oakland University; and Raytheon Missile Systems, this project will continue development of a novel method for AM by consolidating powder at many points on a part simultaneously. Materials and process data relating to the parallel consolidation method will be captured in a knowledgebase in a format consistent with the America Makes national repository framework. The knowledgebase will be complemented by online training, workforce development, and publication initiatives to disseminate information about the project’s results and support transition to commercial adoption.