GE Additive has entered into a five-year cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the US Department of Energy (DoE)’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Tennessee, USA, to focus on processes, materials and software to drive industrialisation and encourage the adoption of Additive Manufacturing technology.
This agreement supersedes an existing CRADA that was established in 2012 between ORNL and GE Additive Arcam EBM. ORNL purchased its first Arcam EBM system in 2009 for the US Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, and since then the teams have worked together to create opportunities for companies to adopt Electron Beam Melting (EBM) technology.
The research objectives of ORNL’s CRADA with Arcam EBM focused on improving the process reliability of EBM technology through the use of in-situ process monitoring and closed-loop control, expanding the technology to new materials systems, specifically nickel-based superalloys, and validating the microstructure and properties of titanium Ti-6Al-4V materials fabricated with increased deposition rates.
The new CRADA, which covers all GE Additive equipment, materials and engineering services capabilities, will focus on developing and implementing novel AM technologies into commercial products including:
- Building on existing research into process simulation methodologies and in-situ monitoring and quality control, on both EBM and Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) systems
- Materials modelling and development
- Industrialisation and commercialisation of equipment and processes
“Our pioneering research with GE Additive was essential to resolving scientific challenges in advanced metals manufacturing using new electron beam methods,” stated Moe Khaleel, Associate Laboratory Director for Energy and Environmental Sciences at ORNL. “We’re excited to again push the boundaries with GE and lower the barriers for widespread adoption of more efficient, low-cost manufacturing techniques.”
Daniel R Simmons, Assistant Secretary for the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, commented, “By collaborating with industry partners such as GE Additive, DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory brings its multi-disciplinary expertise and capabilities to bear on real-world challenges and moves technologies into the marketplace where they will have the greatest economic impact.”
“We’re really looking forward to applying the collective brainpower and expertise from both organisations to addressing the challenges around industrialisation, but we also have an eye on the future,” explained Josh Mook, Innovation Leader, GE Additive. “The next wave of additive technology is already upon us – whether that’s Binder Jet or rapid advances in software – so, we’re excited to see where the next five years will take us.”