Optomec announced that the company was awarded two projects by America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
In a release, the Company noted that in the first project, Optomec will work in partnership with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, MachMotion, TechSolve, and the U.S. Army Benet Laboratories to develop a modular "Lens Engine" that can be integrated with existing machine tools to enable 3D printing of metals. The resulting hybrid systems will bridge the gap between subtractive and additive manufacturing processes. To reach this goal, the latest in controls, toolpath generation, and quality monitoring will be embedded in a modular design that can be retrofitted into an existing or new CNC machine tool.
In the second project, Optomec will work in partnership with Applied Optimization Inc. to develop a process parameter knowledge base for defect-free 3D printing of metals using the Lens process. The database will allow a process engineer to quickly choose from a matrix of known good process parameters, in effect "recipes," to eliminate trial-and-error process development. Such programmatic instruction sets will initially be generated for two aerospace alloys using physics-based simulation software, ParaGen, and verified using deposition trials. This procedure is designed to provide a scientific basis for the selection of deposition parameters and can be reused for a variety of materials.
Richard Grylls, Lens General Manager, said, "The new capabilities developed under these America Makes projects will provide an evolutionary approach for industry to realize the benefits of metal additive manufacturing solutions. First, the Lens Engine will provide a low-cost entry point for 3D printing of metals because it leverages the widely available installed base of conventional machine tools, enabling additive manufacturing to co-exist with subtractive manufacturing methods. Additionally, the knowledge database will provide a growing repository of proven process parameters, speeding productive use of metal 3D printing with Lens. We are delighted to receive these two project awards from America Makes and to be partnered with world-class companies to bring these new metal additive manufacturing capabilities to industry."
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