MELD technology to be used in ‘world’s largest’ metal AM machine by US Army

October 14, 2021

A visualisation of the large-scale Additive Manufacturing machine planned by the US Army’s Jointless Hull Program (Courtesy MELD)

MELD Manufacturing Corporation’s MELD technology has been selected for the US Army’s Jointless Hull Program, as announced at the US Army annual meeting in Washington, DC, USA, October 11, 2021. Under the programme, MELD technology will be used to leverage AM at a very large scale.

The technology will be used on two machines, the larger being able to additively manufacture components measuring 6 m x 9 m x 3.5 m (20 ft x 30 ft x 12 ft), which will be installed at the Rock Island Arsenal – Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center in 2022.

The technology will be used on two machines, the larger being able to additively manufacture components measuring 6 m x 9 m x 3.5 m (Courtesy MELD)

A second machine will be delivered with a build volume of 1.5 m x 1.2 m by 90 cm (5 ft x 4 ft x 3 ft). The effort will be carried out by a team coordinated by LIFT and led by ASTRO America, with subcontractors Ingersoll Machine Tool, Siemens, and MELD Manufacturing.

“The need for large-scale metal components with a short lead time is clear. This metal printer, capable of printing vehicle hulls, is a fantastic demonstration of what is possible with MELD,” stated Dr Chase Cox, MELD’s Director of Technology .

The programme, along with other US Army programs, was set to be reviewed during the Army MELD User’s Group meeting, held at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), October 12.

MELD is a patented, award-winning Additive Manufacturing technology based on a process similar to friction welding, and can be used for the building and repair of metal components using off-the-shelf solid-state materials or powder. MELD machines do not utilise conventional AM technology, and, in fact, come under their own category of process type; the process does not involve melting, and is capable of additively manufacturing fully dense parts.

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