LLNL collaborates with U.S. Navy on replacement parts by metal AM

June 8, 2018

June 8, 2018

LLNL collaborates with U.S. Navy on replacement parts by metal AM

The new collaboration is aimed at the metal AM of critical replacement parts for the U.S. Navy (Courtesy LLNL)


Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), California, USA, have joined a collaboration with the U.S. Navy, aimed at producing critical replacement parts using metal Additive Manufacturing. The Office of Naval Research recently announced an award of $9 million to fund the collaboration, which is led by GE Global Research and aimed at developing a rapid process for creating exact digital models of replacement or newly designed parts for naval, marine and aviation assets.

The collaboration involves scientists and engineers from LLNL, GE’s Aviation and Additive divisions, Honeywell, Penn State University, the Nuclear National Lab (NNL) and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM). The goal over the four-year project will be to build ‘digital twins’ from model and sensor-based data, enabling scientists and engineers to dramatically speed up the qualification and certification process of for metal AM parts. The partners stated that researchers hope to eventually replace traditional manufacturing processes with Additive Manufacturing, and produce legacy replacement parts no longer manufactured by conventional methods.

Under the collaboration, LLNL reported that it will contribute its ongoing development of an intelligent, computational ‘feed forward’ design process, which relies heavily on advanced modeling and simulation, as well as experimental analysis, to predict and teach AM systems to efficiently create parts without defects. “We’ve come up with a methodology and we think we’ve made some significant progress in part qualification,” explained Wayne King, head of LLNL’s Accelerated Certification of Additively Manufactured Metals (ACAMM) project. “We’re training the machines to build parts right the first time, every time, and building the confidence of our physicists and project engineers that they are high-quality.”

The four-year ‘Quality Made’ programme will initially focus on underlying software and hardware developments, before moving toward the development of a complete system demonstrating rapid and robust creation of a part’s digital model or digital twin. The project is expected to culminate in the production of parts for the U.S. Navy using a Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM) AM system.

“The goal is to learn from data generated with the 3D machine and from the parts themselves to rapidly build, validate and certify a part’s digital model, or Digital Twin, for printing,” added Ade Makinde, Principal Engineer of Additive Technologies at GE Global Research. “Today, this process can take years. We want to reduce it to weeks by enabling the machine and the part give us the relevant data we need to verify its design.”


June 8, 2018

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Metal powders in Additive Manufacturing: An exploration of sustainable production, usage and recycling
  • Inside Wayland Additive: How innovation in electron beam PBF is opening new markets for AM
  • An end-to-end production case study: Leveraging data-driven machine learning and autonomous process control in AM
  • Consolidation, competition, and the cost of certification: Insight from New York’s AM Strategies 2024
  • Scandium’s impact on the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium alloys
  • AM for medical implants: An analysis of the impact of powder reuse in Powder Bed Fusion

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