America Makes

America Makes (6)

America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is proud to announce nine awardees of its Project Call #3 for additive manufacturing (AM) applied research and development projects. Driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes will provide up to $8 million in funding toward these projects with $11 million in matching cost share from the awarded project teams for total funding worth $19 million.

“This Project Call is indicative of the ongoing commitment of America Makes and our membership community to collectively target those focus areas that represent the greatest need, demonstrate the greatest impact, and show the most promise for commercialization of critical additive manufacturing technologies for the advancement of our industry at large,” said Rob Gorham, America Makes Director of Operations. “With the addition of the awardees from this Project Call, the America Makes project portfolio is incredibly robust and cutting-edge with the research and development underway to advance additive manufacturing technologies in the United States.”

The Institute’s third project call, which was released in February 2015, was focused on five technical additive manufacturing topic areas—design, material, process, value chain, and genome—each with subset focus areas. Proposals could address one or more technical topic areas, but had to address all evaluation criteria.

Tim Caffrey, Senior Consultant at Wohlers Associates, Inc. and a proposal committee evaluator, characterized the response to Project Call #3 as impressive. “I was struck by both the total number of submissions and the high quality of the proposals. Specifically, the proposals demonstrated close alignment to America Makes' mission and to its Technology Roadmap objectives, which is a testament to the maturity of the member proposal teams. The Institute is definitely operating and performing at an impressive level.”

Subject to the finalization of all contractual details and requirements, the nine selected America Makes Project Call #3 Awardees are as follows:

“Parametric Design of Functional Support Structures for Metal Alloy Feedstocks”
University of Pittsburgh
Led by the University of Pittsburgh, in conjunction with Johnson & Johnson, ITAMCO, and the University of Notre Dame, this project will strive to develop parametric designs of functional support structures for metal alloy feedstocks. Specifically, the project team aims to codify the design rules for support structures used in Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) to inform and then automatically recommend the optimal part orientation and the designs for optimized supports. Currently during part builds, support structures are not only essential to laying part foundations and providing structural support, but also are critical to eliminating part warp during powder recoating and improving heat extraction. However, few rules exist for designing support structures. Moreover, while AM machine tool software packages have the ability to add support structures, these existing capabilities are fairly primitive, not taking into consideration part orientation, distortion, or heat extraction uniformity.

“Multidisciplinary Design Analysis for Seamless AM Design, Analysis, Build, and Redesign Workflows”
Raytheon
Led by Raytheon, in conjunction with General Electric, Altair, ANSYS, Autodesk, NetFabb, the University of Wisconsin, and the Raytheon-University of Massachusetts Lowell Research Institute (RURI), this project will focus on multidisciplinary design analysis for seamless AM design, analysis, build, and redesign workflows that help streamline the design process and make it easier for engineers and technicians to develop mass-customizable engineered solutions suitable for AM. The project will address the development of Design For Manufacturability (DFM) criteria and rules that make step change improvements in the cycle time required to perform AM CAD/CAM/CAE analyses and design optimization, as well as the critical technology element (CTE) of design aides that provide key knowledge to design teams to perform trade-offs between AM and traditional processes. The project will also create the baseline methodology to perform trades between various AM material-process family alternatives and make improved decisions based on the required end product application.

“Economic Production of Next Generation Orthopedic Materials through Powder Reuse in AM”
University of Notre Dame
Led by the University of Notre Dame, in conjunction with Case Western Reserve University, SCM Metal Products Inc., Zimmer Inc., and DePuy Synthes, this project will address the economic production of next-generation orthopedic materials through powder reuse in AM. One of the major factors limiting AM’s extension to batch production is how to optimize the number of parts in a single AM build without negatively impacting part quality. The powder is expensive and poorly utilized in a typical build with only 5 to 20 percent of the powder volume fused into useful parts. Depending upon the material and machine manufacturer, it may be possible to reuse the powder. However, it is recognized that powder undergoes changes when it is exposed to a working atmosphere at elevated temperatures in an AM machine. All of these complications can be accommodated, but only if the impact on the mechanical properties is known and understood. This remains a critical need. This project will focus on the reuse of powder in AM, with particular emphasis on Ti-6Al-4V, stainless steel, and nylon.

“Integrated Design Tool Development for High Potential AM Applications”

University of Pittsburgh
Led by the University of Pittsburgh, in conjunction with ANSYS, United Technologies Research Center, Honeywell, Materials Science Corporation, Aerotech, ExOne, RTI International Metals, and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, this project team aims to develop an integrated design suite with built-in design aides for various AM manufacturability requirements and new topology optimization capabilities for high potential AM applications. AM technologies are now capable of producing very complex geometries and topologies, tremendously expanding the limited design space allowed by traditional manufacturing methods. However, existing CAD/CAE software packages to date have not taken full advantage of the enormous design freedom afforded by AM. By addressing this industry need, this project team seeks to create an integrated design suite that can be rapidly commercialized, helping to minimize time of the design phase, lower manufacturing cost, and reduce time to market for new AM product development.

“A Flexible Adaptive Open Architecture to Enable a Robust Third-Party Ecosystem for Metal Powder Bed Fusion AM Systems”

GE Global Research
Led by GE Global Research, in conjunction with GE Aviation’s Additive Development Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and MatterFab Corp., the objective of this project is to develop and demonstrate open architecture control systems for powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (PBFAM). Today, PBFAM for metals is evolving from rapid prototyping (RP) into mass production. However, high-volume production of mission-critical components must meet rigid engineering and quality standards that far exceed those of RP applications. While the industrial need to address these issues is immediate, the demand for solutions outpaces the capabilities of machine suppliers due in large part to the closed-architecture approach of existing OEMs. An open architecture for the PBFAM process that is flexible and easily adapted will enable a Function Applications Ecosystem, creating the opportunity for third-party hardware for ancillary processes to be easily integrated into PBFAM machines, thus accelerating AM advancements. Additionally, this hardware-focused project will directly complement an ongoing America Makes project, which is focused on open-source protocol and software for PBFAM and also is being executed by GE Global Research, and will be executed by two synergistic sub-teams.

“Digital Threading of AM”
Boeing
Led by Boeing, in conjunction with Aerojet, Raytheon, ITI, and Stratonics, Inc., the digital threading of AM project will enable an art-to-part integrated process and tools that reduce cost and cycle time by minimizing material deposition, component finishing processes, and the application of automation between process steps. This project will demonstrate the impact on processing costs, material lifecycle costs, quality control costs, labor costs, and energy requirement reductions by applying an industry unique and innovative combination of in-situ process monitoring capabilities that links data with the entire digital thread to improve information provided to the additive processes. Data obtained during the additive process will also be used for further improvement by correlating non-destructive inspection results with design and process information. The results are sets of information that directly impact and monitor the key metrics and information that supports improved engineering and manufacturing engineering design for additive. Combined, the in-situ monitoring capability, and the linking and analysis of digital thread information will enable companies to reduce time to market and reduce overall lifecycle costs.

“A Design Guidance System for AM”
Georgia Institute of Technology
Led by the Georgia Institute of Technology, in conjunction with Siemens Corporate Technology, MSC, Senvol, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at Arlington, Lockheed Martin, GKN Aerospace, Woodward, Siemens Energy, and Siemens PLM, this project team aims to address several gaps and deficiencies in the manufacturing design to print workflow with a design guidance system for AM. In the current landscape, CAE tools are force fit to interface with AM within the design workflow. In addition to the extensive list of existing gaps within this makeshift workflow, several high-level workflow categories are also incompatible and missing from the current landscape, including decision tools for manufacturing process selection and justification, Finite Element Analysis for certification and validation of parts, and compatibility with Product Lifecycle Management software for configuration management. This project will focus on many of the gaps in the existing AM design to print workflow, enable the insertion of the decision tools and certification and validation of parts workflow categories, and provide a near seamless software ecosystem to eliminate the discontinuity in switching between multiple software tools by the passing of generic payload file formats, working towards the complete and ideal workflow.

“Cyber-Physical Design and AM of Custom Orthoses”

University of Michigan

Led by the University of Michigan, in conjunction with Altair ProductDesign Inc. and Stratasys Ltd., this project will streamline the digital workflow for AM design through the development of AM-specific functionality built on Altair® OptiStruct®, an optimization software package, generating unique fill patterns and digitally validating performance, while making key improvements in throughput and material offerings, using fused deposition modeling (FDM®) technology to produce customized ankle-foot orthoses (AFO). Healthcare is one of key markets in need of customized solutions, e.g. orthoses and prostheses. The current custom, fabrication method is decades-old and based on plaster-molds and hand crafting, and is not without its challenges, including long delivery time, multiple required visits, and limited design flexibility. Mass-customization is achievable by AM, however, fabrication time for custom AFO is in the range of 20 to 30 hours. Although a significant acceleration, due to the limitations in throughput, using AM for custom orthoses is not cost-effective. This project team seeks to leverage cloud-based design and AM technologies to achieve the throughput and performance requirements, advancements in design for AM, material offerings, system improvements, and a method to print multiple materials with multiple tip sizes to provide cost-effective, high-quality orthoses.

“A Low-cost Industrial Multi3D System for 3D Electronics Manufacturing”

The University of Texas at El Paso
Led by The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), in conjunction with Northrop Grumman, Stratasys Ltd., Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Honeywell, and Draper Laboratory, this project team seeks to deploy the next generation of AM technology into a low-cost industrial multi3D system for 3D electronics manufacturing. The goal of the proposed effort is to capitalize on the learnings of the ongoing, original America Makes project at UTEP, which focused on integrating a comprehensive manufacturing suite into a base AM fabrication process, and optimize a process for a low-cost industrial system to be housed within a single enclosure for a much wider adoption of this technology. This project will include the development of a consolidated system, including a flexible tooling dock integrated within an existing CNC gantry, which will allow the interchange of (1) precision micro-machining, (2) thermoplastic extrusion, (3) direct wire embedding with wire management, and (4) direct foil embedding. With these interchangeable features, the system will be able to fabricate complex-geometric dielectric structures with densely-routed metallic network topologies.

John Wilczynski, America Makes Deputy Director of Technology Development, said, “As a membership community, America Makes is addressing and overcoming known additive manufacturing challenges by working on innovative solutions that can be rapidly transitioned and commercialized. The response to Project Call #3 was outstanding and we are excited to get these awarded projects underway.”

The anticipated start date of the Project Call #3 is Summer 2015.

For more information, visit: www.americamakes.us

The Youngstown Business Incubator and America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, are preparing to launch a $100k technology startup competition called, “AMPED.” The competition has a focus on additive manufacturing, but contestants are also encouraged to submit business ideas related to business-to-business software and information technology.

Entrepreneurs, students and technology innovators from across the nation will have the opportunity to compete for up to $100,000 of investment funding and up to a $50,000 of in-kind professional services offered though the Youngstown Business Incubator. AMPED is not a traditional business competition in which cash prizes are handed out to the winners. Rather, it’s an investment opportunity for credible entrepreneurs looking to grow their early-stage start-up. Prize money will only be awarded to the team or teams that display strong business and technical acumen and have a viable business idea that can be taken to market. In order for finalists of the competition to be eligible to receive investment prizes, they must live or relocate in northeast Ohio.

From July 1 to August 14, 2015, contestants will be able submit their ideas via the third party business competition website, PitchBurner. Once all submissions have been reviewed, YBI will invite up to seven finalists to advance to the final round in Youngstown to present their ideas in front of a panel of experienced judges on November 2, 2015. The winning team or teams will then join YBI as a Portfolio Company where they will work toward taking their idea from an early stage start-up to a scalable business.

The University Business Incubator Index from Stockholm, Sweden recognized the Youngstown Business Incubator as the No. 1 University Affiliated Business Incubator in the world in September 2015. The UBI index global benchmark of business incubators includes most of the top universities in the world, notably Stanford, UC Berkley, Cornell, etc. In this context, YBI performs much better than its peers at top universities.

Located in Youngstown, Ohio, America Makes is the flagship institute for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) infrastructure. America Makes houses the research management team, as well as a 3D printing demonstration facility.

For more information, visit: www.ybi.org/amped

America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is proud to announce its plans to open its first America Makes Satellite Center on the campus of the Institute’s Platinum-level member, The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), in conjunction with UTEP’s renowned W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation.

Kevin Creehan, Ph.D., America Makes Deputy Director of Technology Transition, made the announcement on the first day of presentations at the America Makes Spring 2015 Program Review and Members Meeting, which was held on April 14-16, at the Williamson College of Business Administration Conference Center at Youngstown State University (YSU). In attendance for the announcement were UTEP’s Ryan Wicker, Ph.D., P.E., Director and Founder of the Keck Center and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Eric MacDonald, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Director of the Keck Center.

During his remarks, Dr. Creehan said, “Real-world technology transition takes place because of the activities and pursuits that collaborative and symbiotic relationships provide. With this new America Makes Satellite Center model, we are able to expand our current regional, industrial and technological footprint while further maximizing the reach and capabilities of the satellite through enhanced collaboration. We are proud to name America Makes member, The University of Texas at El Paso, as the site for the first America Makes Satellite Center.”

To ensure the long-term success of an expansion, America Makes decided to roll out the strategy as a pilot program, similar to the Institute’s own founding as the pilot Institute for the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) infrastructure. A short list of potential members for consideration for an America Makes Satellite Center was generated and compared to America Makes’ prerequisites and operational requirements. After internal and external vetting and an on-site evaluation, UTEP with its acclaimed W.M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation was ultimately selected as the pilot America Makes Satellite Center.

“This expansion strategy to establish our first Satellite Center at UTEP marks a new level of national reach for America Makes,” said Ralph Resnick, America Makes Founding Director and NCDMM President and Executive Director. “It also capitalizes on the synergies between America Makes and UTEP’s Keck Center as both of our organizations are dedicated to accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing and 3-D printing technologies to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness.”

“This new relationship is beneficial for both America Makes and UTEP,” said Keck Center Director Ryan Wicker, Ph.D. “UTEP brings an armada of state-of-the-art equipment, cutting edge research, education and workforce training to the partnership, and UTEP stands to benefit from the national and international spotlight on America Makes. NCDMM, the parent organization, has a broad base of defense and industrial partners that will afford UTEP dramatic new opportunities.”

UTEP President Diana Natalicio enthusiastically described the new relationship as “a testament to the preeminence of research underway at UTEP. Exciting new technologies developed on this campus are attracting the attention of the nation and the world.”

Ed Morris, America Makes Director and NCDMM Vice President, added, “On behalf of all of us at America Makes, we are excited to make this announcement as it demonstrates the strength and the success of the collaboration model that America Makes was founded upon. We envision that the America Makes Satellite Center at UTEP’s Keck Center will be the first of many in a future, expansive network of Satellite Centers throughout the country. We look forward to working closely with UTEP and the Keck Center to get the America Makes Satellite Center up and running.”

With more than $80 million in annual research spending, UTEP is dedicated to becoming the first national research university serving a 21st century student demographic. The University’s outstanding record of receiving extremely competitive grant awards reflects the quality of UTEP’s faculty and their sustained commitment to excellence while also maintaining an academic environment dedicated to addressing the educational needs of students.

Founded in 2001 as part of a $1 million grant by the W.M. Keck Foundation, UTEP’s Keck Center is a lab like no other. Led by Director and Founder Dr. Wicker, the Keck Center features a 13,000-square-foot, state-of-the art facility with more than 50 additive manufacturing machines and more than 50 involved faculty, staff, students and researchers with multiple successful national and international collaborations. The lab showcases a unique blend of additive manufacturing equipment and facilities to perform fundamental research, allowing for trailblazing discoveries to be made in limitless arenas of science including 3-D printed electronics, airplanes and satellite components, human augmentation, biomedical implants and future energy systems.

Currently, UTEP’s Keck Center is leading an America Makes member team, comprised of the University of New Mexico, Youngstown State University, the Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., rp+m, Inc., and Stratasys, Inc., on a $2.2 million award grant to further 3-D printing technologies for rapid manufacturing of aerospace systems.

For more information, visit: keck.utep.edu

America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is proud to announce its next project call for additive manufacturing (AM) applied research and development projects. Driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes will provide up to $8 million in funding toward these projects with at least $8 million in matching cost share from the awarded project teams for total funding worth $16 million.

“Today’s announcement marks yet another significant investment in AM made available through the Institute,” said Rob Gorham, America Makes Director of Operations. “With the addition of this Project Call, along with our most recent Directed Project Opportunity funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), America Makes will soon have a portfolio worth more than $68 million in public and private funds invested in advancing the state-of-the-art in AM in the United States.”

The America Makes Project Call is focused on those areas with the greatest impact as determined by the America Makes membership participation in the Technology Investment Strategy Workshops facilitated by America Makes and the Roadmap Advisory Group.

“This Project Call demonstrates America Makes’ continued commitment to maturing critical technologies specific to AM, as well as furthering the collective body of knowledge available to our membership that they can leverage for the advancement of our industry at large,” said John Wilczynski, America Makes Deputy Director of Technology Development.

The Project Call is limited to five technical topic areas with subset focus areas. Proposals can address one or more technical topic areas, but must address all evaluation criteria. The America Makes Project Call technical topics are as follows:

I. Additive Manufacturing Design:

The objective of this technical focus area is to drive technological advancements in new and novel non-proprietary design methods and tools required to enable a culture change and break the cycle of designing AM parts like cast or machined parts. This includes roadmap gap closure solution ideas that avoid being constrained by fundamental limitations associated with current CAD/CAM/CAE/PLM tools and design practices that have been developed for conventional manufacturing processes.

Current design methodologies and practices for product development have been optimized for conventional manufacturing processes (e.g., machining, casting, injection molding, powder pressing, composite mold lay-ups, electronic surface mount technology, etc.) and do not allow benefits and design freedom enabled by AM to be fully realized. Needed are new and novel design methodologies for AM produced parts that can fully exploit the benefits of being able to 3D print parts, using the rapidly growing variety of metallic; polymer and fiber-reinforced polymer; ceramic; and electronic feedstock materials for AM. This includes the integration of these new non-proprietary product and process design practices to enable manufacturers of all sizes to adopt the technology and be able to effectively use it to drive innovation across the supply chain.

II. Additive Manufacturing Material:

The objective of this technical focus area is to build the body of knowledge around benchmark AM property characterization data and eliminate variability in “as-built” material properties. This includes creating a paradigm shift away from controlling process parameters and “as-built” microstructures to instead controlling the underlying physics of the AM process at the micro-scale to achieve consistent, reproducible microstructures and hence “as-designed” properties.

Current AM processes and “as-built” part properties are being characterized in an ad hoc manner, leading to inconsistent and incomplete datasets that exhibit a high degree of property variability and uncertainty. Needed are standardized specifications that minimize variability in feedstock material properties along with more rigorous processing methods and guidelines that enable better control of the underlying physics of the AM processing that enable “as-designed” microstructures to be produced leading to reduced variability in “as-built” material properties.  This also includes the development of “open source” feedstock material specifications that are agnostic to a particular machine vendor and the development of standardized post-processing guidelines, such as, but not limited to, heat treatment and hot isostatic pressing for metallic parts to minimize property variability.

III. Additive Manufacturing Process:

The objective of this technical focus area is to drive technological advancements that enable faster, more accurate, and higher detail resolution AM machines with larger build volumes and improved “as-built” part quality. This includes targeting critical technologies and the associated sub-systems needed where the AM “machine level” process performance improvements are needed, similar to machine tool flexible manufacturing systems. This includes areas, such as, but not limited to, multi-axis, multi-power laser NC control sub-systems, process temperature gradient control sub-systems, continuous equipment, etc.

Current state AM processing capability limitations prevent many candidate parts from being economically viable at production volumes and often require extensive secondary post-processing to achieve the same characteristics as conventionally produced parts. Needed are advancements in numerous machine-level technologies, allowing AM to move from being a primarily rapid prototyping technology to a production viable technology. This includes the development of technologies that help accelerate, optimize, and control the underlying physics of the deposition, melt/sinter/extrude, and solidification mechanisms, which contribute to improved processing capabilities.

IV. Additive Manufacturing Value Chain:

The objective of this technical focus area is to drive technological advancements that enable step change improvements in end-to-end value chain cost and time to market for AM produced products. This includes rapid qualification/certification methods, as well as a holistic focus on integrating technologies across the entire product cradle-to-cradle life cycle, including material and product recyclability. This technical focus has been identified to help drive a priority focus on identifying advance manufacturing enterprise (AME) opportunities for creating a single integrated digital thread; help identify workforce skill set needs and technology enablers, such as design aides and apps to improve productivity; and highlight the need for new and novel rapid design and inspection technologies.

Current AM technology development efforts have been targeting individual elements of the value chain and/or product development life cycle in a fragmented manner and do not approach improving AM produced part cost and cycle time using a holistic system integration approach. Needed are enabling technologies focused on better integrating all elements of the AM value chain and product development life cycle together, including recognizing that design and inspection could become the new bottlenecks in the AM value chain as more complex 3D graded and multi-material components are produced. The goal of this technical focus area is thus to place a priority focus on the development and integration of affordability focused AM technologies across the entire cradle-to-cradle life cycle and value chain to reduce the overall AM produced part cost, cycle time, and time to market.

V. Additive Manufacturing Genome:

The objective of this technical focus area is to drive technological advancements that enable step change improvements in the time and cost required to design, develop, and qualify new materials for AM. This includes the development of new and novel computational methods, such as physics-based and model-assisted material property prediction tools, the development of common benchmark data sets needed to validate the computational predictions, and new and novel ideas for material property characterization that help break the cycle of developing design allowables for “every” new AM material-process combination.

Current material development, characterization, and qualification approaches are both highly empirical and serial in nature and as such, the associated cost, time, and risk required to develop and qualify new AM materials and processes are inhibiting large-scale technology adoption and insertion. Needed are the development of new and novel computationally enabled paradigm shifting “genome” building blocks that radically accelerate the time and reduce the cost associated with new material discovery, development, and qualification using concurrent product and process development models. The technical focus and goals for this technical focus area mirror the larger National Materials Genome Initiative, which is targeting an aggressive 2X improvement in the cost and time required to develop and qualify new AM materials.

To be eligible for the America Makes Project Call, a lead proposer must be an America Makes member by the proposal submission deadline of Friday, May 1, 2015.

An e-mail notice of intent to submit from the lead proposer of the project team is requested no later than Wednesday, March 25, 2015, to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and should include the proposed topics(s)/subtopic(s).

All proposals are due by Friday, May 1, 2015. Submissions must be presented by e-mail to the technical contact listed below with “America Makes PROJECT PROPOSAL” as the Subject line.

E-mail submissions to:

John Wilczynski

America Makes Deputy Director – Technology Development

National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining

All submissions will be acknowledged by a return e-mail confirmation from NCDMM.

America Makes Project Call award announcement will occur on Friday, June 12, 2015. The anticipated start date of the second set of projects is July 2015.

For more information, visit: www.americamakes.us/component/k2/item/696-america-makes-announces-project-call

America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute is proud to announce the awardees of three Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) funded Special Topic Project Calls. Driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes will award more than $2.12 million in AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Manufacturing and Industrial Base Technology Division funding toward these projects with $998K in matching cost share from the awarded project teams for total funding worth $3.12 million.

According to Ed Morris, America Makes Director and NCDMM Vice President, “The need to issue Special Topic Project Calls was identified during the development of our strategic technology investment plan, the America Makes Additive Manufacturing Technology Roadmap, which aligns industry needs and sets investment priorities. America Makes is grateful to the AFRL team for their funding and support in enabling the America Makers member community to pursue these research and development projects. Currently, with the addition of these three Special Topic Project Calls to the projects underway from our first and second Project Calls, America Makes will soon have a portfolio worth more than $48 million in public and private funds invested in advancing the state-of-the-art in additive manufacturing (AM) in the United States.”

The three Special Topic Project Calls focus on areas of particular interest to AFRL, including closed-loop process control, open source protocol, and non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of complex structures.

“The submitted proposals from the America Makes member community for the Special Topic Project Calls were well-thought-out and addressed the topics and focus areas in depth, exploring some exciting methodologies,” said John Wilczynski, America Makes Deputy Director of Technology Development. “The America Makes review team spent a great deal of time and engaged in much discussion during the down-select process to determine the final five awardees.”

Subject to the finalization of all contractual details and requirements, the selected America Makes Special Topic Project Call Awardees are as follows:

Special Topic – Powder Bed Fusion of Thermoplastics Closed-Loop Process Control

Awardee #1: 3D Systems
Led by 3D Systems, in partnership with the University of Delaware – Center for Composite Manufacturing (UD-CCM), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), and Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMCO), this project will strive to enable the broader adoption of thermoplastic powder bed fusion in the manufacturing process by including a predictive modeling scheme into a closed-loop hardware/software integrated engineered system to control key process parameters in-situ and solve inherent processing challenges. UD-CCM’s predictive model based solution will build upon and integrate SNL’s materials nanoscale simulation capabilities. 3D Systems, leveraging Lockheed Martin and Sandia’s process sensor selection knowledge and AM systems integration experience, will instrument a 3D Systems’ SLS (selective laser sintering) production machine to successfully demonstrate feasibility and a transition path to commercializing this approach.

Awardee #2: University of Texas – Austin
Led by the University of Texas at Austin, in partnership Harvest/Stratasys, this project will address the need to rapidly advance the use of closed-loop process control for powder bed fusion (PBF) of thermoplastics. The project aims to take this AM technology to a level where very repeatable and certifiable process results can be obtained through the demonstration of feedback control in PBF for improved part quality and performance predictability, while reducing sensitivity to variations in build conditions across different machines and even within a single build process. UT Austin invented the PBF process and, more recently, designed and fabricated a high temperature test-bed for PBF with feedback control as a central part of its architecture. Harvest/Stratasys is one of the largest thermoplastic PBF service bureaus and is at the forefront of production level quality control for polymer AM.

Special Topic – Open Source Process Control for Powder Bed Additive Manufacturing Research

Awardee #1: GE Global Research
Led by GE Global Research, in partnership with GE Aviation’s Additive Development Center (ADC), and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), this project will develop, document, and demonstrate open-source protocols and machine controllers for powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (PBFAM) on commercial and custom-made metal additive machines. Central to this effort are two new protocols that will be developed with input from the open-source PBFAM community: a LAYER Protocol and a SCAN Protocol. The decision to adopt separate LAYER and SCAN protocols is a strategic endeavor to gain fast international acceptance because both protocols will be simple, scalable, comprehensive, extensible, and independent of PBFAM machine type. To accelerate development, the team will leverage existing open-source layering software in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort. Once the protocols are established, three open-source programs will be developed to demonstrate fabrication of parts from STL files.

Awardee #2: Pennsylvania State University
Led by the Pennsylvania State University, in partnership with Honeywell International Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, and 3D Systems, Inc., this project will develop and demonstrate an open, layered protocol for PBFAM. The proposed layered, open protocol will define a set of communication constructs used within a cyber-physical system. Each layer of the proposed protocol will define an aspect of the data and communication constructs required to define and execute a powder bed deposition process. It will also enable specification and extraction of scan path and process data and communication between a PBFAM system and other heterogeneous systems. The proposed efforts will leverage ongoing programs at the Center for Innovative Materials Processing though Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D) at Penn State. Through the collaboration with 3D Systems, Honeywell, and Northrop Grumman, the protocol will be developed and then implemented and demonstrated at CIMP-3D on a commercial 3D Systems PBFAM machine. Access to the open protocol will allow researchers access to critical data for modeling, sensing, control, and process optimization and enable industry to enhance qualification and certification efforts, as well as more-efficiently innovate PBFAM process and materials development.

Special Topic – Non-Destructive Evaluation of Complex Metallic Additive Manufactured Structures

Awardee: EWI
Led by EWI, this project will pursue the application of established non-destructive evaluation (NDE) techniques in the inspection of AM components made from titanium and nickel-based alloys and those components fabricated using two AM processes, Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM) and Electron Beam Melting (EBM). With input from industry, a matrix of planar and volumetric flaws and internal nonconformities will be prepared for implantation into the selected AM components. The study will also involve qualification of DMLM and EBM processes to fabricate imbedded planar and volumetric flaws with predetermined type, location and dimensions. Up to 128 coupons with artificial and AM flaws will be manufactured and tested to qualify the flaw fabrication specifications and procedures. Among various NDE modalities, X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) was selected and will be performed to examine the specimens and components with representative AM flaws and conditions. The design and optimization of AM flaw matrix in selected components will be aided by computer modeling and simulation of X-ray CT performance indicating possibly the worst and the best inspection scenarios.

“I want to congratulate the America Makes community and our Special Topic Project Call awardees, as well as recognize the AFRL team for their support and funding,” said America Makes Founding Director and NCDMM President and Executive Director Ralph Resnick. “Through the collaborative efforts of the America Makes member community, we are making extraordinary strides in advancing AM and 3DP technologies.”

The anticipated start date of the Special Topic Projects is early 2015.

For more information, visit: www.americamakes.us

America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is proud to announce the awardees of its second call for additive manufacturing (AM) applied research and development projects from its members. Driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes will provide $9 million in funding toward these projects with $10.3 million in matching cost share from the awarded project teams for total funding worth $19.3 million.

According to America Makes Director and NCDMM Vice President Ed Morris, "We were very pleased by the quality of the projects proposed by our members for this second round of additive manufacturing R&D projects being launched, which of course made the final selection process even more challenging. Combined with the projects underway from our first project call, we will soon have nearly $30 million of public and private funds invested in advancing the state-of-the-art in additive manufacturing in the United States."

The Institute's second project call, which was released on August 30, 2013, was focused on five technical topic areas-design for AM; AM materials; process and equipment; qualification and certification; and knowledgebase development-each with subset focus areas. Proposals could address one or more technical topic areas, but had to address all evaluation criteria.

The 15 selected projects span a variety of AM processes and materials with near-term technical achievements that address a comprehensive set of priorities-needs, gaps, and opportunities-within the AM and 3D printing industry. Moreover, these projects represent exceptional teaming within the America Makes community and beyond. Of the 75 individual partners among the 15 selected projects, 31 are America Makes members, including four Platinum (Lead) members, 15 Gold (Full) members; and 12 Silver (Supporting) members.

Subject to the finalization of all contractual details and requirements, the 15 selected America Makes projects are as follows:

•    "In-Process Quality Assurance (IPQA) for Laser Powder Bed Production of Aerospace Components"
Led by General Electric Aviation, in partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne; B6 Sigma, Inc.; Burke E. Porter Machinery Company; Honeywell Aerospace; Montana Tech of The University of Montana; and TechSolve, Inc., this project will address the need for the development of a commercially available, platform-independent Quality Assurance technology for high-volume AM production of aerospace components, which is currently lacking within the industry. The proposed effort will be achieved through the maturation of an IPQA technology solution that leverages a development approach, incorporating multiple AM machines and multiple super alloys.

•    "Developing Topology Optimization Tools that Enable Efficient Design of AM Cellular Structures"
Led by the University of Pittsburgh, in partnership with Acutec Precision Machining Inc.; Alcoa Inc.; ANSYS, Inc.; and ExOne, this project will develop robust software for design and optimization of AM structural designs based on cellular structures. The key innovation in this technology is the utilization of micromechanics models for capturing the effective behavior of cellular structures in finite element analysis (FEA). The results from this project will enable the AM community to optimize advanced cellular structures for the design and manufacture of lightweight and strong AM parts, impacting multiple commercial sectors.

•    "AM of Biomedical Devices from Bioresorbable Metallic Alloys for Medical Applications"
Led by the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, in partnership with ExOne and Magnesium Elektron Powders, this project will develop AM methods to convert magnesium and iron-based alloys into biomedical devices, such as bone plates, tracheal stents, and scaffolds. Biocompatibility, bioresorption, and mechanical testing will be performed on the fabricated test specimens produced by a binder jet printing shape-making approach.

•    "Refining Microstructure of AM Materials to Improve Non-Destructive Inspection (NDI)"
Led by EWI, in partnership with Lockheed Martin and Sciaky, Inc., this project will address the need to improve the ability to ultrasonic inspect titanium alloy components for high-performance aerospace applications, which feature a complex microstructure created during the electron beam directed energy deposition and subsequent heat treatment processes, through the modification of deposition process parameters and advancement of ultrasonic inspection techniques.

•    "Development of Distortion Prediction and Compensation Methods for Metal Powder-Bed AM"
Led by GE Global Research, in partnership with 3DSim, Inc.; CDI Corporation; Honeywell Aerospace; Pan Computing LLC; Penn State University; United Technologies Research Center; and the University of Louisville, this project will benchmark and validate physics-based thermal distortion prediction and mitigation tools for metal powder-bed AM. The goal of this project is to achieve a significant reduction in development time enabled by physics-based distortion prediction and compensation tools. It is anticipated that this project will be foundational in establishing a standard set of AM design rules, distortion mitigation practices, and associated training for the entire AM supply base.

•    "Development of a Low-Cost 'Lens® Engine'"
Led by Optomec, in partnership with Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control; MachMotion; TechSolve, Inc.; and U.S. Army Benet Laboratories, this project will enable a broad proliferation of metal AM through the development of a modular, cost-effective "LENS® Engine" for metal laser deposition, which can be installed into virtually any modern machine tool. To reach this goal, the latest in controls, toolpath generation, and quality monitoring are to be embedded in a modular design that can be easily upgraded and maintained as part of a machine tool system.

•    "Development of Knowledgebase of Deposition Parameters for Ti-6Al-4V and IN718"
Led by Optomec, in partnership with Applied Optimization Inc., this project will offer an efficient and reusable solution to define process parameters that result in defect-free deposition in metallic AM. The knowledgebase will consist of a matrix of permissible combinations of process parameter values that may be used in order to produce defect-free additive deposits using the LENS process. The knowledgebase will provide a process engineer the ability to select from a matrix of vetted process parameter combinations and minimize/eliminate the trial-and-error or cut-and-try approach to process development. The knowledgebase will be generated for two alloys of interest, Ti-6Al-4V and IN718.

•    "Automatic Finishing of Metal AM Parts to Achieve Required Tolerances & Surface Finishes"
Led by North Carolina State University, in partnership with Advanced Machining; CalRAM Inc.; FineLine Prototyping, Inc.; Iowa State University; John Deere; Kennametal Inc.; and Productivity Inc., this project will address a critical need currently impeding the broader adoption of AM methodologies. The goal of this project is to create a system that will be able to produce a mechanical product to final geometric specification. A hybrid manufacturing system, using both additive and then subtractive processing, will be developed so that mechanical parts can be "digitally manufactured" to meet the necessary final geometric accuracy required.

•    "Electron Beam Melted Ti-6Al-4V AM Demonstration and Allowables Development"
Led by Northrop Grumman in partnership with CalRAM Inc.; Concurrent Technologies Corporation; General Electric; and Robert C. Byrd Institute, this project will demonstrate the full-scale component fabrication of electron beam (E-Beam) AM Ti-6Al-4V titanium alloy components, the development of a complete set of materials design allowables, and validation of non-destructive evaluation (NDE) methods on full-scale E-Beam AM demonstration components. Implementation opportunities for air and space structural components, as well as propulsion system components, will also be evaluated for transition to production.

•    "3D Printing Multi-Functionality: AM for Aerospace Applications"
Led by the University of Texas - El Paso, in partnership with Lockheed Martin; Northrop Grumman Corporation; rp+m, Inc.; Stratasys, Ltd.; The University of New Mexico; and Youngstown State University, a comprehensive manufacturing suite will be integrated into a base AM fabrication process to include 1) extrusion of a wide variety of robust thermoplastics/metals; 2) micromachining; 3) laser ablation; 4) embedding wires and fine-pitch meshes submerged within the thermoplastics; and 5) robotic component placement. Collectively, the integrated technologies will fabricate multi-material structures through the integration of multiple integrated manufacturing systems to provide multi-functional products like consumer wearable electronics, biomedical devices, and defense, space, and energy systems.

•    "Metal Alloys and Novel Ultra-Low-Cost 3D Weld Printing Platform for Rapid Prototyping and Production"
Led by Michigan Technological University, in partnership with Aleph Objects, Inc.; ASM International; Miller/ITW; ThermoAnalytics, Inc.; and The Timken Company, this project will focus on four interlinked tasks necessary to commercialize an ultra-low-cost 3D metal printer and develop new 3D printable alloys for it. Material development will focus on aluminum alloys, with the ultimate goal of developing a printable alloy from recycled beverage containers or cans.

•    "Accelerated Adoption of AM Technology in the American Foundry Industry"
Led by the Youngstown Business Incubator, in partnership with the American Foundry Society; ExOne; Humtown Products; Janney Capital Markets; and the University of Northern Iowa, this project team will support the transition of binder jet AM to the small business casting industry by allowing increased access to use of binder jet equipment and the development of design guidelines and process specifications.

•    "A Database Relating Powder Properties to Process Outcomes for Direct Metal AM"
Led by Carnegie Mellon University, in partnership with AMETEK Specialty Metal Products; ATI Powder Metals; CalRAM Inc.; Carpenter Powder Products Inc.; FineLine Prototyping, Inc.; Medical Modeling Corporation; North Carolina State University; Oxford Performance Materials; Pratt & Whitney; Robert C. Byrd Institute; TE Connectivity Ltd.; United Technologies Research Center; and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, this project will create a first-of-its-kind database relating powder properties (e.g., mean particle diameter, particle diameter distribution, particle morphology, metrics for flowability) from various suppliers to process outcomes (e.g., powder spreadability, powder ability to be sintered, melt pool geometry, microstructure, geometric precision, and material hardness). Additionally, for at least one powder system that is not immediately useable in a direct metal machine, the project will identify process variable changes needed to make that powder system yield outcomes comparable to standard powders.

•    "High-Throughput Functional Material Deposition Using a Laser Hot Wire Process"  - Case Western Reserve University
Led by Case Western Reserve University, in partnership with Aquilex Corporate Technology Center (AZZ, Inc.); Lincoln Electric Company; rp+m, Inc.; and RTI International Metals, this project will focus on the assessment of a laser-assisted, wire-based additive process developed by the Lincoln Electric Company for different high-throughput functional material deposition applications, and will benchmark it against a laser-/powder-based AM process.

•    "Optimization of Parallel Consolidation Method for Industrial Additive Manufacturing"
Led by Stony Creek Labs, in partnership with Grid Logic; Michigan Economic Development Corporation; MSC; Oakland University; and Raytheon Missile Systems, this project will continue development of a novel method for AM by consolidating powder at many points on a part simultaneously. Materials and process data relating to the parallel consolidation method will be captured in a knowledgebase in a format consistent with the America Makes national repository framework. The knowledgebase will be complemented by online training, workforce development, and publication initiatives to disseminate information about the project's results and support transition to commercial adoption.

"I want to congratulate the America Makes community and our second project call awardees," said America Makes Founding Director and NCDMM President and Executive Director Ralph Resnick. "I continue to be extraordinarily proud of the strides that America Makes is making to advance additive manufacturing and 3DP technologies. Today's announcement of the second project call awardees exemplifies how our incredibly innovative and active community-comprising both members and non-members-is working together, sometimes even with competitors, to advance our industry by exploring the limitless possibilities of 3DP. I am very excited for these projects to get underway."

The anticipated start date of the second set of projects is early Spring 2014.

In addition to today's project award announcement, America Makes is also announcing that it will conduct a Program Management Review for members only on March 18-20 in Youngstown, Ohio. The review will include overviews of the new projects being awarded.

America Makes is the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. As the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing (3DP), America Makes is the nation's leading and collaborative partner in AM and 3DP technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. Structured as a public-private partnership with member organizations from industry, academia, government, non-government agencies, and workforce and economic development resources, we are working together to innovate and accelerate AM and 3DP to increase our nation's global manufacturing competitiveness. Based in Youngstown, Ohio, America Makes is the pilot institute for up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes and is driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM).

For more information, visit: www.americamakes.us

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