The two contracts have been administered by America Makes and funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and will make use of 3DS’ proprietary selective laser sintering (SLS) and direct metal 3D printing (DMP) range.

Working with a group of military suppliers, including Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin, 3DS plans to develop a closed loop and advanced manufacturing and monitoring platform with improved  accuracy, functionality and repeatability.    

Convincing scale

The first contract is led by 3DS in partnership with the University of Delaware's Center for Composite Manufacturing (UDCCM), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) and Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMCO). The project is designed to integrate predictive technologies with 3DS' SLS 3D printers to monitor parts at the layer level during the manufacturing process, improving accuracy and repeatability of manufactured aerospace parts. 

The second contract, in collaboration with the Applied Research Laboratory of Pennsylvania State University in partnership with Honeywell International and Northrop Grumman Corporation, uses 3DS' direct metal 3D printing to make it easier for aerospace and defense manufacturers to gain full control of every aspect of the direct metal manufacturing process at the layer level.

"These important research projects will position leading industry manufacturers to 3D print high-performance precision parts at convincing scale with enhanced functionality," said Neal Orringer, vice president of alliances & partnerships, 3DS. "3D Systems pioneered the use of advanced manufacturing for aerospace and defense applications and is proud to work with such esteemed partners to further advance these technologies and meet and exceed the future demands of the Air Force."

Both projects are set to commence in early 2015.