Acting as the official additive manufacturing accelerator in the United States, the Youngstown, Ohio-based organization America Makes, also known as the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, has enabled the success of hundreds of business and educational institutes with their 3D printing prowess and network. Over this year alone, America Makes has worked with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to form a regulatory institution for additive manufacturing, and has also recently funded a $10 million research project to make 3D printed aircraft part replacement more efficient for the US Air Force.
The institution launched their fourth Project Call for additive manufacturing projects back in March, where they look to match a total of $5.5 million of their funding with the handful of selected teams investment, which would equate to $11 million in total funding. Last week, America Makes unveiled the seven awardees of their program, each of which look to enhance 3D printing technology from a unique angle. This recent Project Call focused on five “swim lanes” that America Makes determined was the most impactful, which consisted of Design, Material, Process, Value Chain, and AM Genome.
“We are excited to get the projects from this latest Project Call underway as they achieved an unprecedented level of balance between advancing the technical R&D industry needs and developing solid workforce, education, and outreach plans that are so crucial to the successful transition and commercialization of the project outcomes,” said Rob Gorham, America Makes Director of Operations. “America Makes and its membership community are committed to ensuring that the U.S. manufacturing workforce is educated in using AM innovations for our nation’s economic competitive advantage.”
The first awardee was the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), for their proposed project “Optimal Design and AM of Complex Internal Core Structures for High Performance Aerial Vehicle Production”. The project will focus on developing educational materials and a computational system for the optimization of design and 3D core structures generally utilized in the aerospace industry. CMU will collaborate with a number of acclaimed companies on this project, including Automated Dynamics Corporation, Aurora Flight Sciences, Lockheed Martin, Siemens Corporation, Stratasys, and United Technologies Corporation.
The other educational institution awarded for this Project Call was the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). The UTEP-led project, which is entitled “Multi-functional Big Area AM (BAAM): BAAM with Multi-purpose Wire Embedding”, will aim to advanced the build volume of additive manufacturing processes, as well as the production rates. To do this, the university plans explore the capability of combining large-scale 3D printing technology with wire embedding. To do so, they plan on creating both a hardware and a software solution, ultimately integrating a wire embedding technology into Cincinnati Incorporated’s large-scale Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) 3D printing system.
America Makes has also awarded Wolf Robotics for their “MULTI: Source/FeedStock/Meter-Scale METAL AM Machine” project submission, which will aim to test and refine the CAD to Path tool process. Essentially, they hope to develop a software tool to bundle with a multi-process, multi-material, advanced 3D printing system. 3D Systems was also awarded with potential funding for their latest project “Biomimetic Multi-jet Materials”. Their project will entail the development of printable biomimetic materials for multi-jet printing (MJP), which will address the current lack of printable materials suitable for the healthcare field.
Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT), which was granted with funding for their “A Non-Empirical Predictive Model for AM Lattice Structures” project, will focus on designing and manufacturing lattice structures. To accomplish this, the engineering service provider will attempt to develop a validated model that will showcase the behavior of lattice structures, and in turn, will help elevate their performance. America Makes will also present the funding opportunity to the Ohio-based Youngstown Business Incubator, which will aim to develop the next-generation of sand-based 3D printers, which will ultimately help enhance metal casting through the integration of additive manufacturing.
Lastly, the government-funded organization has also named the American defense contractor Raytheon as an awardee for their “Multi-material 3D Printing of Electronics and Structures” project. With this venture, Raytheon plans to develop solutions that will enable multi-material 3D printing of integrated electronics and non-planar structures, which could greatly benefit the commercial, aerospace, biomedical, and defense industries. All in all, it’s clear that America Makes refuses to put all of their eggs in one 3D printed basket, and instead is diversifying their investments into a multitude of different projects. To me, this shows that America Makes has a vetted interest in the success of 3D printing technology, and will continue to back up innovative projects in order to prompt the next breakthrough in the additive manufacturing industry. Discuss further in the America Makes Awardees forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source: America Makes]