Additive Manufacturing equipment supplier 3D Systems, based in Rock Hill, USA, has been awarded two research contracts worth over $1 million from America Makes in a project funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Both projects are set to commence in early 2015.
Together with a number of US military suppliers including Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin, 3D Systems aims to develop a precision closed loop and advanced manufacturing and monitoring platform, designed to deliver the accuracy, functionality and repeatability specifications demanded for flight worthy aerospace parts.
“The collaborative and forward looking initiative of America Makes members is driving extraordinary strides in 3D printing centric advanced manufacturing for this important industry,” stated Ralph Resnick, America Makes Executive Director. “America Makes is grateful for the support and funding from AFRL to enable important research like this.”
The first contract is led by 3D Systems in partnership with the University of Delaware’s Center for Composite Manufacturing (UDCCM), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) and Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMCO). The project is designed to integrate predictive technologies with 3D Systems’ SLS 3D printers to dynamically monitor parts at the layer level during the manufacturing process, ensuring optimum accuracy and repeatability of manufactured aerospace parts.
The second contract, in collaboration with the Applied Research Laboratory of Pennsylvania State University in partnership with Honeywell International and Northrop Grumman Corporation, will focus on 3D Systems’ Direct Metal 3D printing. As a result of this project, aerospace and defence manufacturers will gain full control of every aspect of the direct metal manufacturing process at the layer level, delivering fully dense, chemically pure, flight worthy metals parts.
“These important research projects will position leading industry manufacturers to 3D print high-performance precision parts at convincing scale with enhanced functionality,” stated Neal Orringer, Vice President of Alliances & Partnerships, 3D Systems. “3D Systems pioneered the use of advanced manufacturing for aerospace and defence applications and is proud to work with such esteemed partners to further advance these technologies and meet and exceed the future demands of the Air Force.”