Additive Manufacturing Strategies

US Air Force, Navy Fund Senvol Machine Learning Tool for 3D Printing

ST Medical Devices

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3D printing data company Senvol has announced that it is receiving funding from the U.S. Navy and Air Force to further their machine learning software. Senvol ML analyses the relationship between 3D printing process parameters and material performance, and has been used by multiple branches of the military in the past. 

Senvol initially released Senvol ML in November 2019 as an analytic tool to make sense of the data coming out of AM processes. It’s a modularized Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) system that categorizes data into four modules: process parameters, process signatures, material properties, and mechanical performance.

Customers can use the results of Senvol ML to predict how a material or process will perform, work backwards from a desired result (like tensile strength) to see what processes or materials will get them there, and even recommend what data they should be collecting in the future to get a better picture of the process. Notably, it’s material, process and machine agnostic, meaning that it’s hypothetically useful for any kind of additive manufacturing. 

Senvol President Annie Wang believes that their software gets rid of a massive roadblock in the additive manufacturing industry.

“What is at the epicenter of the AM industry?” asks Wang. “Data. Be it an end user, software provider, or material manufacturer, all organizations in the AM industry need and rely upon data for their AM initiatives. But data for AM is hard. It’s a big fundamental problem for the industry.”

Since its development, Senvol ML has been heavily used in aerospace, oil and gas, and consumer products spaces. But it’s gathered the most press for its work with the military. Back in 2018, the company joined the National Armaments Consortium (NAC), the industry and academia segment of the DOTC. In the same year, they developed software for the Navy Office of Naval research, to help them characterize new materials faster and more cheaply.  In 2020, the Air Force used Senvol ML to evaluate their multi-laser metal 3D printing program and make sure it could make airworthy parts. Finally, in late 2020, the Army announced that it was going to use the program for the qualification of 3D printed missile parts. 

Even back in 2019, Senvol drew attention for their close work with the military.

“Yes, we do a fair bit of work for the defense industry, most notably for the U.S. Department of Defense,” Wang said in a 2019 interview. “The defense industry is leading the way with the adoption and use of AM, and we are pleased to support those efforts with our products and services.”

Today, Wang’s statements are more focused on what the military can do for Senvol: “We are very excited about the continued support from several of our Department of Defense partners. Our collective objective is to enable organizations to quickly characterize or qualify additive manufacturing materials and processes.”

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