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America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is proud to announce nine awardees of its Project Call #3 for additive manufacturing (AM) applied research and development projects. Driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes will provide up to $8 million in funding toward these projects with $11 million in matching cost share from the awarded project teams for total funding worth $19 million.

“This Project Call is indicative of the ongoing commitment of America Makes and our membership community to collectively target those focus areas that represent the greatest need, demonstrate the greatest impact, and show the most promise for commercialization of critical additive manufacturing technologies for the advancement of our industry at large,” said Rob Gorham, America Makes Director of Operations. “With the addition of the awardees from this Project Call, the America Makes project portfolio is incredibly robust and cutting-edge with the research and development underway to advance additive manufacturing technologies in the United States.”

The Institute’s third project call, which was released in February 2015, was focused on five technical additive manufacturing topic areas—design, material, process, value chain, and genome—each with subset focus areas. Proposals could address one or more technical topic areas, but had to address all evaluation criteria.

Tim Caffrey, Senior Consultant at Wohlers Associates, Inc. and a proposal committee evaluator, characterized the response to Project Call #3 as impressive. “I was struck by both the total number of submissions and the high quality of the proposals. Specifically, the proposals demonstrated close alignment to America Makes' mission and to its Technology Roadmap objectives, which is a testament to the maturity of the member proposal teams. The Institute is definitely operating and performing at an impressive level.”

Subject to the finalization of all contractual details and requirements, the nine selected America Makes Project Call #3 Awardees are as follows:

“Parametric Design of Functional Support Structures for Metal Alloy Feedstocks”
University of Pittsburgh
Led by the University of Pittsburgh, in conjunction with Johnson & Johnson, ITAMCO, and the University of Notre Dame, this project will strive to develop parametric designs of functional support structures for metal alloy feedstocks. Specifically, the project team aims to codify the design rules for support structures used in Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) to inform and then automatically recommend the optimal part orientation and the designs for optimized supports. Currently during part builds, support structures are not only essential to laying part foundations and providing structural support, but also are critical to eliminating part warp during powder recoating and improving heat extraction. However, few rules exist for designing support structures. Moreover, while AM machine tool software packages have the ability to add support structures, these existing capabilities are fairly primitive, not taking into consideration part orientation, distortion, or heat extraction uniformity.

“Multidisciplinary Design Analysis for Seamless AM Design, Analysis, Build, and Redesign Workflows”
Raytheon
Led by Raytheon, in conjunction with General Electric, Altair, ANSYS, Autodesk, NetFabb, the University of Wisconsin, and the Raytheon-University of Massachusetts Lowell Research Institute (RURI), this project will focus on multidisciplinary design analysis for seamless AM design, analysis, build, and redesign workflows that help streamline the design process and make it easier for engineers and technicians to develop mass-customizable engineered solutions suitable for AM. The project will address the development of Design For Manufacturability (DFM) criteria and rules that make step change improvements in the cycle time required to perform AM CAD/CAM/CAE analyses and design optimization, as well as the critical technology element (CTE) of design aides that provide key knowledge to design teams to perform trade-offs between AM and traditional processes. The project will also create the baseline methodology to perform trades between various AM material-process family alternatives and make improved decisions based on the required end product application.

“Economic Production of Next Generation Orthopedic Materials through Powder Reuse in AM”
University of Notre Dame
Led by the University of Notre Dame, in conjunction with Case Western Reserve University, SCM Metal Products Inc., Zimmer Inc., and DePuy Synthes, this project will address the economic production of next-generation orthopedic materials through powder reuse in AM. One of the major factors limiting AM’s extension to batch production is how to optimize the number of parts in a single AM build without negatively impacting part quality. The powder is expensive and poorly utilized in a typical build with only 5 to 20 percent of the powder volume fused into useful parts. Depending upon the material and machine manufacturer, it may be possible to reuse the powder. However, it is recognized that powder undergoes changes when it is exposed to a working atmosphere at elevated temperatures in an AM machine. All of these complications can be accommodated, but only if the impact on the mechanical properties is known and understood. This remains a critical need. This project will focus on the reuse of powder in AM, with particular emphasis on Ti-6Al-4V, stainless steel, and nylon.

“Integrated Design Tool Development for High Potential AM Applications”

University of Pittsburgh
Led by the University of Pittsburgh, in conjunction with ANSYS, United Technologies Research Center, Honeywell, Materials Science Corporation, Aerotech, ExOne, RTI International Metals, and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, this project team aims to develop an integrated design suite with built-in design aides for various AM manufacturability requirements and new topology optimization capabilities for high potential AM applications. AM technologies are now capable of producing very complex geometries and topologies, tremendously expanding the limited design space allowed by traditional manufacturing methods. However, existing CAD/CAE software packages to date have not taken full advantage of the enormous design freedom afforded by AM. By addressing this industry need, this project team seeks to create an integrated design suite that can be rapidly commercialized, helping to minimize time of the design phase, lower manufacturing cost, and reduce time to market for new AM product development.

“A Flexible Adaptive Open Architecture to Enable a Robust Third-Party Ecosystem for Metal Powder Bed Fusion AM Systems”

GE Global Research
Led by GE Global Research, in conjunction with GE Aviation’s Additive Development Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and MatterFab Corp., the objective of this project is to develop and demonstrate open architecture control systems for powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (PBFAM). Today, PBFAM for metals is evolving from rapid prototyping (RP) into mass production. However, high-volume production of mission-critical components must meet rigid engineering and quality standards that far exceed those of RP applications. While the industrial need to address these issues is immediate, the demand for solutions outpaces the capabilities of machine suppliers due in large part to the closed-architecture approach of existing OEMs. An open architecture for the PBFAM process that is flexible and easily adapted will enable a Function Applications Ecosystem, creating the opportunity for third-party hardware for ancillary processes to be easily integrated into PBFAM machines, thus accelerating AM advancements. Additionally, this hardware-focused project will directly complement an ongoing America Makes project, which is focused on open-source protocol and software for PBFAM and also is being executed by GE Global Research, and will be executed by two synergistic sub-teams.

“Digital Threading of AM”
Boeing
Led by Boeing, in conjunction with Aerojet, Raytheon, ITI, and Stratonics, Inc., the digital threading of AM project will enable an art-to-part integrated process and tools that reduce cost and cycle time by minimizing material deposition, component finishing processes, and the application of automation between process steps. This project will demonstrate the impact on processing costs, material lifecycle costs, quality control costs, labor costs, and energy requirement reductions by applying an industry unique and innovative combination of in-situ process monitoring capabilities that links data with the entire digital thread to improve information provided to the additive processes. Data obtained during the additive process will also be used for further improvement by correlating non-destructive inspection results with design and process information. The results are sets of information that directly impact and monitor the key metrics and information that supports improved engineering and manufacturing engineering design for additive. Combined, the in-situ monitoring capability, and the linking and analysis of digital thread information will enable companies to reduce time to market and reduce overall lifecycle costs.

“A Design Guidance System for AM”
Georgia Institute of Technology
Led by the Georgia Institute of Technology, in conjunction with Siemens Corporate Technology, MSC, Senvol, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at Arlington, Lockheed Martin, GKN Aerospace, Woodward, Siemens Energy, and Siemens PLM, this project team aims to address several gaps and deficiencies in the manufacturing design to print workflow with a design guidance system for AM. In the current landscape, CAE tools are force fit to interface with AM within the design workflow. In addition to the extensive list of existing gaps within this makeshift workflow, several high-level workflow categories are also incompatible and missing from the current landscape, including decision tools for manufacturing process selection and justification, Finite Element Analysis for certification and validation of parts, and compatibility with Product Lifecycle Management software for configuration management. This project will focus on many of the gaps in the existing AM design to print workflow, enable the insertion of the decision tools and certification and validation of parts workflow categories, and provide a near seamless software ecosystem to eliminate the discontinuity in switching between multiple software tools by the passing of generic payload file formats, working towards the complete and ideal workflow.

“Cyber-Physical Design and AM of Custom Orthoses”

University of Michigan

Led by the University of Michigan, in conjunction with Altair ProductDesign Inc. and Stratasys Ltd., this project will streamline the digital workflow for AM design through the development of AM-specific functionality built on Altair® OptiStruct®, an optimization software package, generating unique fill patterns and digitally validating performance, while making key improvements in throughput and material offerings, using fused deposition modeling (FDM®) technology to produce customized ankle-foot orthoses (AFO). Healthcare is one of key markets in need of customized solutions, e.g. orthoses and prostheses. The current custom, fabrication method is decades-old and based on plaster-molds and hand crafting, and is not without its challenges, including long delivery time, multiple required visits, and limited design flexibility. Mass-customization is achievable by AM, however, fabrication time for custom AFO is in the range of 20 to 30 hours. Although a significant acceleration, due to the limitations in throughput, using AM for custom orthoses is not cost-effective. This project team seeks to leverage cloud-based design and AM technologies to achieve the throughput and performance requirements, advancements in design for AM, material offerings, system improvements, and a method to print multiple materials with multiple tip sizes to provide cost-effective, high-quality orthoses.

“A Low-cost Industrial Multi3D System for 3D Electronics Manufacturing”

The University of Texas at El Paso
Led by The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), in conjunction with Northrop Grumman, Stratasys Ltd., Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Honeywell, and Draper Laboratory, this project team seeks to deploy the next generation of AM technology into a low-cost industrial multi3D system for 3D electronics manufacturing. The goal of the proposed effort is to capitalize on the learnings of the ongoing, original America Makes project at UTEP, which focused on integrating a comprehensive manufacturing suite into a base AM fabrication process, and optimize a process for a low-cost industrial system to be housed within a single enclosure for a much wider adoption of this technology. This project will include the development of a consolidated system, including a flexible tooling dock integrated within an existing CNC gantry, which will allow the interchange of (1) precision micro-machining, (2) thermoplastic extrusion, (3) direct wire embedding with wire management, and (4) direct foil embedding. With these interchangeable features, the system will be able to fabricate complex-geometric dielectric structures with densely-routed metallic network topologies.

John Wilczynski, America Makes Deputy Director of Technology Development, said, “As a membership community, America Makes is addressing and overcoming known additive manufacturing challenges by working on innovative solutions that can be rapidly transitioned and commercialized. The response to Project Call #3 was outstanding and we are excited to get these awarded projects underway.”

The anticipated start date of the Project Call #3 is Summer 2015.

For more information, visit: www.americamakes.us

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