nTopology, New York City, USA, has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA, to advance the capabilities of Additive Manufacturing through integrated software toolkits and embed ORNL expertise into nTop software. The intent is for these capabilities to be made available commercially to the broader advanced manufacturing market.
The collaboration incorporates foundational nTopology software with ORNL-developed machine control capabilities on large-scale polymer Additive Manufacturing machines in phase one, and a metal Electron Beam Manufacturing (EBM) machine in phase two. Potential impacts include improved design and modelling controls as well as the production of reusable, configurable templates for end-users of the Department of Energy (DoE)’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL.
Phase one includes the development of a toolkit within nTop Platform to optimise design and print preparation for the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM™) machine focusing on large-scale polymer AM. This will allow for connectivity from nTop Platform directly to the ORNL slicer to successfully fabricate parts on the BAAM systems.
Phase two includes the creation of a toolkit to engineer direct metal grain growth with an Electron Beam Manufacturing (EBM) system, such as those produced by GE Additive Arcam, and developing an additional toolkit to design honeycomb infill based on circle packing and simulation for Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM). nTopology will also develop simulation-based optimisation of support structures for BAAM, Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) and EBM.
“The team at ORNL is undertaking some of the most cutting-edge research and development of advanced-manufacturing processes in the world. Capturing that expertise and making it available as toolkits within nTop Platform will not only enable ORNL, but all nTop users, to leverage that expertise to design and manufacture the most advanced products in the world, and space,” stated Duann Scott, Vice President of Partnerships and Business Development at nTopology.
“We look forward to collaborating with nTopology to enhance large-scale polymer 3D printing capabilities and anticipate the development of novel software to improve printing processes,” added Michael Borish, ORNL’s lead researcher on the project. “As a leader in advanced manufacturing, ORNL works with industry to help them bring new technologies, such as the nTopology software toolkit, to the marketplace.”