Senvol, New York City, USA, reports that it has demonstrated a machine learning approach to material property allowables development. This was done as part of a contract awarded by America Makes and funded by the US Air Force, to apply the company’s machine learning software, Senvol ML, in order to advance rapid development of material property allowables for Additive Manufacturing. The approach is said to be more flexible, cost-effective, time-effective, and with comparable accuracy to the conventional (i.e., CMH-17) approach to allowables development.
As part of the programme, Senvol demonstrated a new approach to material property allowables development that leverages machine learning. The Senvol ML software supports the qualification of AM processes and was used in the programme to develop statistically substantiated material properties analogous to material allowable. Furthermore, it did so while simultaneously optimising data generation requirements.
Senvol states that a machine learning approach is extremely flexible and able to handle any change to the AM process, which makes this approach ideal for sustainment in the long term. The programme focused on demonstrating the approach using a Nylon 11 Flame Retardant material processed via a polymer Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) AM machine. Important to note is that the software is flexible and can be applied to any AM process, any AM machine, and any AM material. Senvol explained that the software is flexible and can be applied to any AM process, machine and material.
“Additive Manufacturing is a modern and digital manufacturing method with rapidly tailorable processing,” stated Dr Brandon Ribic, America Makes Technology Director. “To continue to use traditional material allowables development approaches is a bottleneck to wider material and process options, and capabilities for Additive Manufacturing. Senvol’s programme was very powerful in demonstrating an approach to Additive Manufacturing allowables that leverages the digital nature of the technology and leverages machine learning, a modern data analysis approach that has been shown to be extremely effective in a multitude of other industries.”
The company explains that AM is starting to enable lightweight and rapidly produced designs that are revolutionary to various US Air Force and commercial capabilities and applications, but that these benefits cannot yet be fully realised due to the time and high cost of allowables development.
The high cost stems in large part from the fact that material allowable development requires an enormous amount of empirical data to be generated, at a fixed processing point, meaning that all of the empirical data must typically be regenerated from scratch every time there is a major change in the process. This results in an AM process that is not only costly and time consuming to implement the first time, but costly and time-consuming to maintain in the long-run when there are inevitable changes to the AM process.
Zach Simkin, Senvol president, commented, “Senvol implemented data-driven machine learning technology that has the potential to substantially reduce the cost of material allowables development. By demonstrating an entirely new – and significantly more efficient – approach to allowables development, Senvol aims to drive tremendous value for the U.S. Air Force, the America Makes membership, and the Additive Manufacturing industry at large.”
“The results of this America Makes programme were incredibly successful,” he continued. “Additionally, we identified several other opportunity areas to go deeper into the machine learning capabilities to address this critical need for the industry. We look forward to continuing to partner with industry to advance this cutting edge area.”
Dr William E Frazier, retired Chief Scientist for Air Vehicle Engineer at NAVAIR/The Navy Senior Scientist for Material Engineering, and current president of Pilgrim Consulting LLC, added, “I was very pleased to join Senvol’s team for this programme. Senvol’s machine learning-enabled approach directly addresses a major industry challenge: the rapid and cost-effective development of Additive Manufacturing material property allowables. I have been involved with the qualification of several additive manufacturing processes and materials for flight, and in my opinion, the further development of this technology will have a positive impact on the cost, schedule, and performance of both DoD and commercial platforms.”
The results from this America Makes programme are available to America Makes members as well as to the US Government. Senvol’s partners on the programme included Northrop Grumman, the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, and Pilgrim Consulting.