Sciaky Teams Up With Penn State University and DARPA

Sciaky, Inc., a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) and leading provider of additive manufacturing (AM) solutions, is teaming up with the Applied Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University to advance Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) technology, via funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Under terms of the agreement, a 6,000-square-foot Center for Innovative Metal Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D) will be established within the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State to serve as a world-class Manufacturing Demonstration Facility under DARPA's Open Manufacturing initiative.

The mission of the Center as a Manufacturing Demonstration Facility will be to advance and deploy DDM technology for highly engineered and critical metallic systems to the Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. industry through three primary thrust areas, which are:

  • advancement and integration of enabling technologies required to exploit DDM process attributes during design and optimize DDM processing conditions for producing qualified components and structures,
  • collaboration with industry in the development and transfer of DDM technologies through process selection, demonstration, and validation as a "trusted broker," and
  • promotion of DDM technologies through training, education and dissemination of information.

Sciaky, a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries (PSI), will support this initiative with its exclusive Direct Manufacturing (DM) process, which combines additive manufacturing principles, computer-aided design (CAD) and electron beam welding technology. Starting with a 3D model from a CAD program, Sciaky's fully articulated, moving electron beam gun deposits metal, layer by layer, until the part is ready for finish machining. Depending on the part being manufactured, deposition rates can range from 15 to 40 pounds of metal per hour. To date, it stands as the only commercially available, large-scale, fully programmable means of achieving near-net shape parts.

An important aspect of the proposed Center will be the development and use of design and simulation tools that enable industry participants the opportunity to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of DDM technology prior to and during manufacturing demonstrations. The ability to utilize these functions within an integrated system, having a high degree of interoperability, will offer the most advanced array of tools for evaluating potential components and processes in the industry applicable to direct digital manufacturing. This approach draws upon the strength of the U.S. technology base in virtual networking and advanced engineering systems to deploy a disruptive technology that will provide an immediate impact on the suitability, affordability and availability of critical components throughout industry, as well as the exploitation of innovative designs and materials not possible using traditional manufacturing methods.

"We are excited about the opportunity to work with Penn State and DARPA to push the boundaries of Direct Manufacturing," said Mike Riesen, General Manager of Sciaky, Inc. "I'm confident that this initiative will offer further proof that American innovation is alive and well."

Last December, Sciaky entered a DoD Mentor-Protege Agreement with Lockheed Martin to expand its Direct Manufacturing technology for the possible use of manufacturing titanium components for the F-35 military aircraft.

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