Senvol, New York, USA, reports that its data-driven machine learning software for Additive Manufacturing, Senvol ML™, is being used to assist with a U.S. Air Force programme focused on developing methodology for demonstrating airworthiness of components produced on multi-laser AM machines.
As part of a collaboration between Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), the “FlexSpecs” programme is focused on qualifying an EOS M400-4 quad laser Powder Bed Laser Fusion (PB-LF) machine. The goal is to develop baseline mechanical properties and design allowables, and ultimately make demonstration builds of heat exchangers and hypersonics-relevant parts.
The prime contractor on the programme is the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI). Jessica Orr, Program Manager and Materials Engineering Team Leader for AM & Repair Technologies at UDRI, stated, “AM has recently demonstrated the ability to rapidly deliver complex geometries and production quality parts that are able to enhance the capabilities of DoD weapons systems.”
“A major challenge facing the use of AM for producing DoD relevant end-use parts is that the number of available large scale printers is likely to be limited for the next five to ten years. In this collaborative programme we are developing and demonstrating methodology to use a new multi-laser AM printer to produce airworthy, end-use parts,” she added.
According to Senvol, its software is being employed to assist with the development of the process optimisation and characterisation plan and to analyse all project data.
Annie Wang, Senvol President, stated, “We’re thrilled to work with UDRI, AFRL, and AFLCMC on this programme. Our machine learning software, Senvol ML, is well-suited to assist with AM qualification, and this is a great example of that. In addition to helping to develop baseline mechanical properties and design allowables, the software will analyse data to evaluate laser-to-laser consistency, optimise bulk scan settings, identify preferred overlap patterns and parameters, and confirm uniformity over the entire build plate.”
Dr Mark Benedict, Materials Scientist and Program Manager in the Propulsion, Structures & Industrial Technologies Branch, Manufacturing Technology Division, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, AFRL, Air Force Materiel Command, noted, “The overall objective of this programme is to successfully demonstrate full scale M400, multi-laser prints of heat exchangers as well as hypersonics-relevant parts. This is an area of need for the Air Force, and we look forward to the results.”