U.S. Naval Research Lab Adds 3D Metal Printing to Boost R&D

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory will be using Concept Laser’s M2 cusing machine to print in stainless steel.

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is conducting a scientific research and development program for maritime application related to oceanic, atmospheric and space sciences. NRL has selected Concept Laser’s 3D metal printing technology for rapid prototyping and materials research. This is their first laser powder-bed metals machine.

“We require a wide range of additive manufacturing (AM) capabilities, ranging from quality monitoring to process parameter development, and need an architecture conducive to that research and development effort,” says Dr. Charles Rohde, NRL Acoustics Division.

NRL will be using Concept Laser’s M2 cusing machine to print in stainless steel. Along with the machine, they will be using QM Meltpool 3D to monitor the quality of their metal applications, inspecting the part as it grows. This will also help them identify any design defects and if an application is on the edge of acceptability. Additionally, they will be using CL WRX Parameter 2.0 to freely design and develop custom parameters.

“It is very exciting that the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is bolstering their focus on metal additive manufacturing. There are so many advantages of 3D metal printing that our defense strategy could benefit from, including reduced lead time, less material waste and printing complex geometries with no required assembly. NRL has a history of over 90 years of innovation in naval power and we look forward to hear how they will use 3D metal printing to break boundaries,” says John Murray, president and CEO of Concept Laser Inc.

Additive manufacturing involves taking digital designs from computer aided design (CAD) software, and laying horizontal cross-sections to manufacture the part. Additive components are typically lighter and more durable than traditional forged parts because they require less welding and machining. Because additive parts are essentially “grown” from the ground up, they generate less scrap material. Freed of traditional manufacturing restrictions, additive manufacturing dramatically expands the design possibilities for engineers.

Source: Press materials received from the company.

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