America Makes hosted TRX event at Rapid + TCT highlighting ongoing projects

July 3, 2024

July 3, 2024

America Makes, Youngstown, Ohio, USA, hosted a Technical Review & Exchange (TRX) event during the recent RAPID + TCT event, where it announced a $2.1 million project call and hosted over seventy-five engineers, decision-makers, government, members, and partners from various sectors of the US AM industry.

As well as the project call, the TRX event also included presentations on four projects – three closeouts and one kickoff. Speakers included Brent Roeder from R3 Digital Sciences, Inc; Christopher D Immer from GE Aerospace Research; Ryan Meeker from the University of Dayton Research Institute; and Kevin Orbine from Deloitte Consulting. Each provided progress updates of their ongoing research and development (R&D) efforts with exclusive insight into the latest advancements underway to advance Additive Manufacturing technology.

“To further advance the Institutes’ efforts to collaborate, catalyse, and convene the AM ecosystem, we must remain connected with the AM community and its stakeholders,” stated John Wilczynski, America Makes Executive Director. “RAPID+TCT is a premiere event within the industry, and we welcomed the opportunity to team up to offer our first-ever integrated TRX event.”

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Projects presented at TRX included:

Frameworks for Utilizing Process Monitoring in Conjunction with Ex-situ Inspection for Qualification

Currently, there is a need for in-situ Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) process monitoring frameworks that can minimise post-build part inspection requirements while still preventing escapes. However, as it remains, developing such a framework is cost prohibitive with an overflow of data.

During his presentation on the project, Roeder stated that his team is developing a specification prioritising the qualities of in-situ process monitoring frameworks to meet this need and at cost. Harnessing artificial intelligence, they hope to analyse datasets to establish the best in-situ monitoring framework to accurately predict PBF-LB and Directed Energy Deposition (DED) Additive Manufacturing process outcomes.

This framework aims to balance the cost and complexity while also improving the predictive performance of part quality. The result will be prioritised in-situ monitoring specification that has the potential to reduce the US Department of Defense (DoD) and industrial costs and delays via on-demand part production and repair.

Fast-Scanning-Mirror Wobble-Enabled Build Schema (Fast-WEBS)

The demand for quicker production is essential and the Fast-Scanning-Mirror Wobble-Enabled Build Schema (Fast-WEBS) is a project determined to increase the bulk build rate of PBF-LB Additive Manufacturing by 3X. However, increasing the build rates presents a significant challenge resulting in higher part production throughput, ultimately becoming one of the main barriers to entry into the additive industry. While speed is undeniably important, ensuring quality is critical to manufacturers.

As detailed in Immer’s presentation, GE will attempt to build a 3X speed while attempting to maintain high material quality in the Ti-6Al-4V alloy, using a high-frequency wobble-based thermal manipulation framework integrated with the fast-scanning mirror (FSM). This approach manipulates thermal energy distribution to withstand high power and scan speeds. With this new system, there is expected to be a drastic enhancement in production efficiency along with significant improvements in cost effectiveness and energy efficiency within the Additive Manufacturing industry.

Sensor-Based Approaches to LPBF Machine Pre-Qualification

Machine pre-qualification is important among machine types and part manufacturers, however, due to diverse designs of machines, qualification practices vary widely. This project, led by The University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) in collaboration with ZEISS Northrop Grumman (NGC), and The Ohio State University (OSU), aims to address this challenge by creating an in-situ sensor demonstrating consistent quantification of gas flow effects on end part quality.

Gas flow designs exhibit extreme inconsistency, which makes them significantly important in the pre-qualification process. This project intends to acquire information from gas flow characterisation sensor-based data sets to pre-qualify machines. Ultimately, this allows for manufacturers to produce quality parts throughout the Additive Manufacturing supply chain.

Methods and Approaches for Sustainable Operations – Should vs. Could

In the United States, the casting and forging (C&F) supply chain is struggling to meet high demand. America Makes and Deloitte partnered to address this issue by exploring how stopgap AM parts can aid the C&F supply chain problem.

In this, the ‘Should vs. Could’ project was established, which encompasses a structured training programme designed for both in-person and virtual delivery. The Techno-Economic Analysis (TEA), component of this project intends to educate first-order decisionmaking on effectively applying AM for stopgap measures amid the C&F supply chain challenges. This programme is designed to enhance the decision-making process regarding the implementation of Additive Manufacturing solutions.

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July 3, 2024

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