The system at C3R will retrofit LENS 3D metal printing capabilities within a conventional CNC vertical milling machine enabling a hybrid additive/subtractive manufacturing work cell. The hybrid manufacturing work cell will be used for both research and commercial production in the remanufacture and repair of metallic components used by the transportation, medical and aviation industries.

C3R is considered one of the world’s leaders in remanufacturing, which involves restoring worn or damaged in-service parts to extend their useful life. The LENS process can either fully build 3D metal parts, when replacement parts are no longer available, or add materials onto an existing metal component of almost any three-dimensional shape making it also suitable for repair/remanufacturing operations. The LENS print head delivers powdered metal and a highly focused laser beam to the damaged part area enabling repair of components in a way not possible with traditional repair methods such as welding. The low heat input of the LENS process creates a lower heat affected zone (HAZ) of the part under repair, and reduces the chance of distortion.

“The remanufacture of industrial components requires a production proven process capable of adding materials onto any 3D metal structure,” said Dr. Michael Haselkorn, director of the material science and engineering laboratory research faculty at C3R. “The quality of the repaired area must have mechanical properties equal to or even better than the original part. The LENS process was selected because it met this requirement and because its unique open architecture approach enables the remanufacture of components that previously could not be cost-effectively repaired.”