This funding will be matched by $5 millon from the project teams.

NCDMM and NAMII found that the submitted proposals 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, NCDMM vice president and NAMII director. “NAMII’s fundamental objective is to spawn the creation of new, innovative products and the corresponding US jobs to support them based on the unique capabilities of additive manufacturing.”

The initial call for project, released in November 2012, focused on three technical topic areas: materials understanding and performance; qualification and certification; and process capability and characterization/process control. The projects had to cover  educational outreach and workforce development training as well. 

The seven selected projects span a variety of metal and polymer additive manufacturing processes and materials with near-term technical achievements impacting multiple key markets within a few months. Projects covering metal processing are as follows:

Qualification of Additive Manufacturing Processes and Procedures for Repurposing and Rejuvenation of Tooling, Case Western Reserve University

Led by Case Western Reserve University, in partnership with several additive manufacturers, die casters, computer modellers, and the North American Die Casting Association, this project will develop, evaluate, and qualify methods for repairing and repurposing tools and dies. Die casting tools are very expensive – sometimes exceeding US$1 million each – and require long lead times to manufacture. The ability to repair and repurpose tools and dies can save energy and costs, and reduce lead time by extending tool life through use of the additive manufacturing techniques developed by this team.

Maturation of High-Temperature Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) Technologies and Infrastructure,  Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems

Led by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, in partnership with several industry team members, this project will develop a selective laser sintering (SLS) process for a lower-cost, high-temperature thermoplastic for making air and space vehicle components and other commercial applications. In addition, recyclability and reuse of materials will also be explored to maximize cost savings and promote sustainability.

Thermal Imaging for Process Monitoring and Control of Additive Manufacturing, Penn State University Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP 3D)

Led by Penn State University, in partnership with several industry and university team members, this project will expand the use of thermal imaging for process monitoring and control of electron beam direct manufacturing (EBDM) and laser engineered net shaping (LENS) additive manufacturing processes. Improvements to the EBDM and LENS systems will enable 3D visualization of the measured global temperature field and real-time control of electron beam or laser power levels based on thermal image characteristics. These outcomes will enable the community to have greater confidence on part properties and quality using these technologies.

Rapid Qualification Methods for Powder Bed Direct Metal Additive Manufacturing Processes, Case Western Reserve University

Led by Case Western Reserve University, in partnership with leading aerospace industry companies and other industry and university team members, this project will improve the industry’s ability to understand and control microstructure and mechanical properties across EOS Laser Sintering and Arcam Electron Beam Melting (EBM®) powder bed processes. Process-based cost modeling with variable production volumes will also be delivered, providing the community with valuable cost estimates for new product lines. The outcomes from this project will deliver much needed information to qualify these production processes for use across many industries.

“The announcement of NAMII’s first project call awardees is the continuation of the industrious and high-energy pace that NCDMM has established for NAMII since its founding a mere seven months ago as the pilot institute for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) infrastructure,” said Ralph Resnick, NCDMM president and executive director and NAMII founding director. “This initial award of projects marks the beginning of additional awards to come that will accelerate the integration of additive manufacturing into mainstream manufacturing.”

NAMII will conduct Program Management Review and Project Kickoff meetings for NAMII members only on 2-3 April 2-3 in Youngstown, Ohio. It will officially announce its next project call at the RAPID 2013 Conference and Exposition on 10-13 June in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, just two weeks before the MPIF Conference in Chicago, which on Tuesday 25th will devote a full day to a Special Interest Program on Additive Manufacturing.The RAPID 2013 project call “will reflect further refined and key strategic topic areas necessary for NAMII to meet the needs of industry partners and enable the widespread adoption of additive manufacturing technologies and innovations.”

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