MELD Manufacturing Company, inventors of Additive Friction Stir Deposition (AFSD) expertise, was chosen for the MilAM 2024 Technical Achievement Award for 3D Printing Innovation. The Jointless Hull staff group nomination additionally consists of US Military GVSC, ASTRO America, Ingersoll Machine Software, Siemens, and LIFT.
The distinguished award, introduced on the Manufacturing Summit & Know-how Showcase (Mil AM), honors the people, or teams, which have exemplified excellent achievement in 3D printing in help of DoD mission priorities.
In 2023, Rock Island Arsenal (RIA-JMTC), underneath the management of the U.S. Military Floor Automobile Methods Middle (GVSC), introduced the world’s largest printer for metallic elements of alloys from aluminum to metal on-line. A smaller companion model of the identical additive and subtractive machine is housed on the SAE managed AMCC facility to encourage extra industrial use and partnership with the DOD. This collaborative effort goals to foster industrial partnerships and improve the Division of Protection’s (DOD) capabilities.
“[The technology] opens up the aperture of our capabilities,” mentioned Edward Flinn, director of the Superior Manufacturing Middle of Excellence at RIA-JMTC. “It is a one-of-a-kind system.” The Jointless Hull machine is the world’s largest additive and subtractive manufacturing equipment. The gear was constructed for the U.S. Military with RIA-JMTC, the U.S. Military Floor Methods Middle, Ingersoll Machine Software, the Utilized Science and Know-how Analysis Group of America, Siemens and LIFT. The Jointless Hull is operated by the workforce of Division of the Military civilians and transforms the manufacturing capabilities at RIA-JMTC.
“To have the ability to 3D print one thing that’s forging-level high quality didn’t exist till now,” mentioned Flinn. “Up to now, apart from some distinctive conditions, it’s all the time been a weldment or meeting utilizing typical methods. The joints have been all the time the weakest part of the half. This new system makes it attainable for individuals to not fear concerning the joints or seams as a result of you may make it in a single piece.”
For the additive course of, the Jointless Hull makes use of MELD’s friction stir AM, a course of that may be thought of a game-changer within the 3D printing panorama resulting from its solid-state nature, a particular function that units it other than conventional fusion-based processes. In contrast to AM strategies that contain melting metallic, MELD’s solid-state strategy permits printing with alloys like 7075 and 2219 aluminum, essential for industries prioritizing light-weight elements equivalent to aerospace. Moreover, MELD can produce elements within the extensively used aluminum alloy 6061, eliminating the necessity for particular powders or alloys.
One of many key benefits of MELD’s solid-state course of is its security. By using customary off-the-shelf metallic rods, the MELD printers eradicate the hazards related to metallic powders. The open-air printing functionality permits MELD machines to supply very giant elements economically, demonstrated when printing a record-breaking 10ft/3.05m diameter aluminum cylinder – the biggest additively manufactured cylinder up to now.
The U.S. Military has embraced the potential of MELD’s large-scale printing capabilities to expedite elements from the provision chain, improve automobile survivability, and discover rising supplies. This funding has opened avenues for analysis and improvement in supplies not beforehand printable at this scale.
Astro America, a key supporter of this initiative, has supplied undertaking funding to the trade for the related use of the Military MELD printer. Business giants like Boeing have already showcased elements manufactured utilizing the Military MELD printer, illustrating the widespread affect and adoption of this revolutionary expertise. The collaborative efforts span your complete AM ecosystem, from software program instruments and printers to elements, engineering, evaluation, supplies analysis, and workforce improvement.