A drone recently flew a 3D-printed metal part for the lifeboat system from an industrial site in Mongstad, Norway, to the Troll A natural-gas platform in the North Sea. The drone transported a replacement diesel nozzle holder, a critical component used in the platform’s lifeboats, printed from Inconel 718.
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $547,000 grant to Penn State University, allowing researchers in the school’s Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) to develop new computer models to help improve real-time process control during 3D printing of metal parts using the laser powder-bed fusion (LPBF) process. Leading the 3-yr. project is Qian Wang, associate head for administration in ME.
“The overall objective will be to improve part quality and consistency, which will help increase the economic competitiveness of metal additive manufacturing,” Wang says.
The U.S. Air Force has awarded Optomec a $1 million contract to deliver an automated high-volume metal additive manufacturing (AM) machine for refurbishing turbine engine components at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, OK. The metal-AM setup is expected to reduce repair costs by as much as 70 percent, while providing shortened and more-predictable lead times and reduced supply-chain dependency―which translates to improved military readiness.
R&D investment, improved material availability, larger build volumes and more drive the uptick in metal-AM applications.
Teach Engineers to Understand the Business Case
by Brad Kuvin
Convince decision makers that investing in the technology will pay off
quickly by building a business case on the foundation of purchase-price
variance, putting teeth to more familiar concepts such as improved
product performance and speed to market.