Thermwood Corporation and Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center East Sign Formal Cooperative Research and Development Agreement

Share this Article

thermwood-lsam-logoThermwood Corporation, established in Indiana in 1969 and the oldest CNC manufacturing company in business, has just announced that it signed a formal Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) East, and part of the Naval Air Systems Command, to conduct a joint technology development effort, lasting for two years, and focused specifically on Thermwood’s developing large scale additive manufacturing (LSAM) technology. The company’s LSAM system, built for the production of large thermoplastic parts and featuring a massive build envelope of ten feet wide, five feet high, and anywhere from 10 to 100 feet long, was just unveiled a few months ago.

Thermwood Model 77

Thermwood Model 77

Thermwood developed the first commercial CNC tool back in the 1970s, and offers three- and five-axis CNC machining centers used for production, fabrication, and trimming of materials like wood, plastics, and composites. In 2015, they decided to join the additive manufacturing world, and partnered with American Kuhne to develop a custom machine that could perform both additive and subtractive manufacturing, based on the original Thermwood Model 77, their giant, enclosed gantry machine. They announced their line of dual-gantry, high-wall LSAM systems back in September, which 3D print industrial tooling, molds, patterns, and fixtures for several industries, using reinforced thermoplastic composite materials. The dual gantries consolidate both printing and machining to the same system.

The LSAM machines are available in sizes up to 100 feet long, with print capability from 150 to 500 lbs an hour, and utilize a “near-net-shape” to make parts. The parts are 3D printed to a slightly larger than necessary size at high speeds, and later trimmed to their ultimate net size and shape. Just like the dual gantries keep printing and machining to the same machine, dual controls on the LSAM allow printing and trimming operations to be performed at the same time, on opposite ends of the table.

thermwood_lsam_2016_3

LSAM System

Thermwood upped their game and simplified their production even further last month, by adding real-time thermographic imaging to the LSAM systems, so they are able to produce large tools that are solid and void-free enough to maintain a vacuum without surface coating or sealing. The company has been in a prolonged R&D program to further develop their additive manufacturing equipment and technology, which is where FRC East, located at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina, comes in.

Thermwood founder, CEO, and chairman Ken Susnjara said, “We are excited to work with the FRC East and are confident that, working together, we can achieve significant advances and results. I am confident that this program will benefit us both while further advancing the state of the art.”

fleet-readiness-center-eastThe FRC East has played an important role in national defense for over 60 years, and uses cutting edge, innovative technology to make sure that they are continually providing quality, cost-effective support for Navy and Marine Corps aviation, along with other armed services, federal agencies, and foreign governments. It is one of eight fleet readiness centers operated by the United States Navy, and the only one commanded by Marines. It provides maintenance, engineering and logistics support, and repair to every weapons platform flown by the Marine Corps, and is also the Department of Defense Vertical Lift Center of Excellence. This is not the first time the Navy has worked with 3D printing, having recently utilized the technology to create a functional 3D printed part to be used in the fleet. It will be interesting to see the results of their joint research with Thermwood, as using additive manufacturing to print large scale parts could be quite advantageous to the military. Discuss in the Thermwood forum at 3DPB.com.

Facebook Comments

Share this Article


Recent News

NRC Canada Partnering with Polycontrols to Scale Up Cold Spray Additive Manufacturing

Combining Over-3D Printing of Continuous Carbon Fiber Reinforced Composites with Stamp Forming Organo-sheet Substrates



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Improving Mechanical Properties of 3D Printing with Continuous Carbon Fiber Shape Memory Composites

Researchers Yongsan An and Woon-Ryeol Yu explore improved 3D printing through the study of alternative materials. In the recently published ‘Three-dimensional printing of continuous carbon fiber-reinforced shape memory polymer composites,’...

REGEMAT 3D Will Start Selling Biomaterials

One of the key players in the bioprinting field in Spain will be incorporating seven new biomaterials. In the coming months, REGEMAT 3D will launch a catalog of biomaterials that customers...

Tunisia: Researchers 3D Print Optimized Car Leaf Spring out of Carbon PEEK

Authors Amir Kessentini, Gulam Mohammed Sayeed Ahmed, and Jamel Madiouli have performed research and analysis after 3D printing a car part, with their findings outlined and recently published in ‘Design...

University of Nottingham: 3D Printed PG/PLA Composites for Repairing Fractures

In ‘Mechanical properties and in vitro degradation behavior of additively manufactured phosphate glass particles/fibers reinforced polyactide,’ authors Lizhe He, Jiahui Zhong, Chenkai Zhu, and Xiaoling Liu explore a new level...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!