Another winning project led by Northrop Grumman is "Maturation of High-Temperature Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) Technologies and Infrastructure," which will focus on developing an SLS process that can manufacture air and space vehicle components from a lower-cost, high-temperature thermoplastic. The project will also explore materials recyclability and reuse.
Along with Arcam's Electron Beam Melting (EBM) process, EOS's direct laser sintering (DLS) process is featured in "Rapid Qualification Methods for Powder Bed Direct Metal Additive Manufacturing Processes," led by Case Western Reserve University. This project will target greater understanding and control of mechanical properties and microstructure in both of these powder bed metal processes, as well as process-based cost modeling for different production volumes.
Another project led by Case Western Reserve University is "Qualification of Additive Manufacturing Processes and Procedures for Repurposing and Rejuvenation of Tooling." The university will partner with the North American Die Casting Association, die casters, computer modelers, and several additive manufacturers to come up with and qualify methods for repairing and repurposing tools and dies using AM.
"Thermal Imaging for Process Monitoring and Control of Additive Manufacturing" led by Penn State University will look at thermal imaging as a method for providing process monitoring and control in two AM processes: electron beam direct manufacturing (EBDM) and laser engineered net shaping (LENS).
The seven projects were the ones among the many proposals submitted that "detailed highly innovative additive manufacturing project ideas, featuring applied research and development, efficient use of digital data, high sustainability, and aggressive education outreach and workforce training plans," said Ed Morris, NAMII director and NCDMM vice president, in a press release.
More details on the winning projects will be available after project kickoff meetings at NAMII on April 2 and 3. The projects span a range of technologies but appear to be focused on fine-tuning existing AM processes for a variety of different goals. This makes sense for the early stages of what is, in effect, a government-organized industry association. It will be especially interesting to find out what other 3D printing and AM manufacturers are involved, as well as which OEM manufacturers
The next project call will be announced during the RAPID 2013 Conference and Exposition, June 10 to 13 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Any organization can respond to the project call if partnered with a member of NAMII on the proposed project and if that member submits the proposal. NAMII members include industry, universities and community colleges, non-profit organizations, and federal and state agencies.