Additive Manufacturing Strategies

AMBIT Laser Cladding AM Device Wins Largest 3D Printing Award in History, $100,000

ST Medical Devices

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The AMBIT multi-task system is a series of heads and docking systems capable of transforming nearly any CNC machine into a device capable of running non-traditional processing heads for manufacturing, and it can swap those functionalities out in seconds.

The changeover of tools and functionality using AMBIT is completely automated, and the process takes just 10 to 25 seconds to complete.

Now Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies, the creators of the AMBIT system, have just won the single largest award in history for a 3D printing device, valued at $100,000, for this tool-changeable laser cladding head. HMT was named the winner of the 2015 International Additive Manufacturing Award.

9233548_origThe award is jointly sponsored by the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW), and was first announced back in the autumn. The winner was selected by a blue-ribbon panel of additive manufacturing and 3D printing experts.

The IAMA was created to recognize innovations in additive processes through all areas of modern manufacturing, and the criteria for this first award took into account concept, design, prototype, manufacturing, and application impact.

Ambit cladding head in machine with coolant tubes.

AMBIT cladding head in machine with coolant tubes

Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies, founded in 2012 by Dr. Jason Jones and Peter Coates, spun off from a collaborative research and development project begun five years prior. In 2007, work on a high-speed milling machine developed at De Montfort University’s Additive Manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing research laboratory led to a four-year long UK-based research project named RECLAIM (REmanufacture of high value products using a Combined LAser cladding, Inspection and Machining system).

Jones, co-founder and CEO of Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies, says the technology sprung from RECLAIM.

RECLAIM was supported by the Technology Strategy Board, and the research project ultimately matured to become the hybrid manufacturing system. As part of a group that included Airfoil Technologies International, Cummins, De Montfort University, Delcam, Electrox, Manufacturing Technology Centre, TWI, Precision Engineering Technologies, and Renishaw, the project led to the development of AMBIT.

The AMBIT technology was called a “premiere example of advancement in additive processes and applications” by the judging panel for the IAMA award, and it was selected to receive “the largest prize ever awarded in a 3D printing competition.” The prize is valued at $100,000, broken down into a $20,000 cash award and an $80,000 media package.

“Hybrid technology is exciting because it offers a new way to adopt additive manufacturing – as an upgrade to a CNC machine tool,” Jones said. “Adding AMBIT tool changeable deposition heads to an existing CNC machine enables 3D printing of metal, without the need to buy a separate machine. This significantly reduces costs and provides an intuitive adoption path for CNC operators. The combination of additive with machining offers new capabilities, including in process finishing, that cannot be delivered by either technology independently.”

iama-logoThe panel of judges included representatives from the AMT and VDW, as well as BMW; Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garret & Dunner; Franunhofer Institute; Gardner Business Media; GE Aviation; University of Texas-Austin; VDI Nachrichten; and Walter Reed Medical Center.

Are you aware of any other 3D printing or additive manufacturing devices adaptable to current CNC Machines? Let us know in AMBIT Wins Award forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out a video below of the AMBIT system in action.

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