Elementum 3D, Erie, Colorado, USA, reports that it has earned first place at the inaugural U.S. Air Force Advanced Manufacturing Olympics (AMO) hosted by the USAF Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO). The company won the event’s “Material Hurdles” technical challenge with its A7050-RAM2 high-strength aluminium alloy, seeing off eight other finalists.
Sixty-four teams are said to have participated in the AMO competition and each team completed five technical challenges which were judged by twenty-five experts from academia, the U.S. military, and aerospace and defence companies, the FAA, Ford, and Amazon. Each team was required to accurately recreate additively manufactured parts from an existing technical data package using innovative materials and techniques while demonstrating accuracy, skill, completeness, ease of use, and speed of production.
The RSO Material Hurdles challenge saw teams compete to accurately recreate additively manufactured parts in their own specialised material. Dr Jacob Nuechterlein, president and founder of Elementum 3D, commented, “We entered our A7050-RAM2 aluminium alloy to deliver on the AMO event’s initiative to obtain a material capable of being 3D printed into components for use in demanding Air Force conditions.”
The USAF is said to be implementing additively manufactured aluminium alloys because they can be produced quickly and on-demand, while reducing component weights and raw material requirements. Employing advanced manufacturing can also reduce the sustainment costs of the RSO, which currently make up 70% of the USAF budget, states Elementum. The company’s AM A7050-RAM2 feedstock supports these goals by allowing the USAF to build components out of an aluminium material that is lightweight, high-strength, and offers both excellent fatigue life and stress corrosion cracking resistance.
Dr Nuechterlein added, “We are honoured to have our commercially available high-strength A7050-RAM2 aluminium alloy selected as the AM material to best meet the USAF’s challenge goal of demonstrating advances in AM aluminium material properties to address sustainment of traditionally manufactured 7075 and 7050 aluminium parts.”