Wohlers to lead Powder Bed Additive Manufacturing research for US Air Force

November 28, 2023

Wohlers Associates, powered by ASTM International, based in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA, has been chosen to lead a project for the US Air Force (USAF) that focuses on techno-economic analysis in Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) Additive Manufacturing. The project includes a detailed landscape assessment, interviews with key industry figures and representatives from the US Department of Defense (DOD) supplemented by specialist reviews. A final report will conclude the project.

The project call, known as ‘Improvements in Manufacturing Productivity via Additive Capabilities and Techno-Economic Analysis (IMPACT)’ is directed by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) and America Makes. The call is funded by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Research and Engineering Manufacturing Technology Office (OSD(R&E)) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

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“We are thrilled to be partnering with Wohlers Associates and ASTM International on their efforts exploring techno-economic analysis of metal powder bed AM to address future needs of the USAF and the nation,” shared Brandon Ribic, technology director at America Makes. “America Makes and the domestic supply chain has expelled considerable effort to gain a deeper understanding of this opportunity space and see this project as providing the appropriate knowledge to begin addressing these needs with confidence.”

Wohlers Associates has received the Topic 9 of IMPACT, which focuses on metal PBF AM technologies. The aim is to create a comprehensive techno-economic analysis. This analysis is expected to be a crucial resource for the USAF, assisting in the development of targeted investment strategies. These strategies are designed to improve efficiency and strengthen trust in PBF processes.

This analysis will deliver strategic insights, assisting AFRL and its ecosystem in identifying key areas for short- and long-term investments to increase adoption. “These efforts will not only improve the business case and reduce part costs, but also explore new technological avenues for evaluation and utilization, leading to significant cost savings and efficiency gains,” stated Dr Mohsen Seifi, ASTM International Vice President of Global Advanced Manufacturing Programs.

“The award is a testament to our dedication to enhancing the techno-economic understanding of metal powder bed AM,” Seifi added. “Through this project, we are setting the stage for transformative advancements in manufacturing efficiency, cost effectiveness, and technological excellence. This project is more than an analysis, it’s also a roadmap for future innovation, ensuring an ongoing effort to promote the advancement of the Additive Manufacturing industry’s potential.”

Additionally, ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE) has published its fifth annual report. This report emphasises the organisation’s expanding research-to-standards portfolio, industry partnerships, acquisitions, workforce development programmes, team growth, and more.

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