February 13, 2015
Leading 3D printing companies and universities will share in more than $3 million in research funding via America Makes and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
In December, America Makes announced the awardees of the three AFRL-funded Special Topic Project Calls. Along with the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), the organization will award more than $2.12 million in funding to the projects, with $998,000 in matching funds from the project teams.
The three special topic project calls focus on closed-loop process control, open source protocols, and non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of complex structures.
3D Systems, the University of Delaware Center for Composite Manufacturing, Sandia National Laboratory, and Lockheed Martin were awarded funding for the “Powder Bed Fusion of Thermoplastics Closed-Loop Process Control” project. The team will work toward including a predictive modeling schema into a closed-loop hardware/software integrated engineered system to control process parameters in-situ.
The University of Texas at Austin and Harvest/Stratasys are the second awardees of the closed-loop project, and their project will “address the need to rapidly advance the use of closed-loop process control for powder bed fusion (PBF) of thermoplastics. The project aims to take this AM technology to a level where very repeatable and certifiable process results can be obtained through the demonstration of feedback control in PBF for improved part quality and performance predictability, while reducing sensitivity to variations in build conditions across different machines and even within a single build process.”
The second project area, “Open Source Process Control for Powder Bed Additive Manufacturing Research,” also had two groups of awardees. The first, led by GE Global Research along with GE Aviation's Additive Development Center and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will develop open-source protocols and machine controllers for powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (PBFAM) on metal additive machines.
The second team will be led by Pennsylvania State University along with Honeywell International, Northrop Grumman, and 3D Systems, and will develop an open, layered protocol for PBFAM.
EWI is the sole awardee for the “Non-Destructive Evaluation of Complex Metallic Additive Manufactured Structures.” That project will focus on NDE techniques for inspecting components made form titanium and nickel-based alloys using direct metal laser melting and electron beam melting.
Source: America Makes