The University of Oklahoma, based in Norman, Oklahoma, USA, recently celebrated the opening of its Sooner Advanced Manufacturing Lab. The new facility has been established to enable research and workforce development to support the state’s growing defence industry.
The lab houses two M2 Series 5 Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) Additive Manufacturing machines from GE, with one machine set up for stainless steel and the other for titanium alloys. This AM capability is expected to assist university faculty and students with designing and meeting the critical requirements of the highly regulated military and aerospace industry. The lab also maintains cross-cutting equipment for testing parts, digital twin, CAD modelling, precision cutting and polishing, and more.
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“As Oklahoma’s flagship institution, one of our most important obligations to our state is to drive economic growth, support workforce needs and ignite groundbreaking discoveries,” said Joseph Harroz Jr, OU President. “The Sooner Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory stands as a testament to our ongoing commitment to leverage OU’s excellence to enhance Oklahoma’s robust aerospace and defence ecosystem, which is essential to the prosperity of our state and nation.”
Planned future expansion of the lab’s capabilities includes support for producing aircraft propulsion parts, as well as expanded applied research, training, and workforce development to support military and industrial aerospace partners.
“The US military and defence industrial base is under constant pressure to accelerate repairs of critical equipment, reduce costs, and sustain its legacy systems to maintain combat mission readiness,” added Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, OU Vice President for Research and Partnerships. “To address this critical need, our Oklahoma Aerospace and Defense Innovation Institute and Gallogly College of Engineering have come together with federal and industry partners to scale up research in advanced manufacturing that has real-world impacts.”