America Makes announces winners of its $1.2 million Open Project Call

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (December 19, 2023) – America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, in partnership with the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), is thrilled to announce the winners of its $1.2 million Open Project Call.

This competitive funding opportunity, sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Research and Engineering Manufacturing Technology Office (OSD(R&E)) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), attracted proposals from some of the nation’s most innovative minds focused on tackling key challenges in additive manufacturing (AM).

“The response to this Open Project Call was truly inspiring,” remarked Ralph Resnik, President and CEO of America Makes. “We got proposals addressing critical areas across the AM ecosystem, showcasing the giant potential of the technology to revolutionize several industries.

We’re confident that the selected projects will yield groundbreaking advancements that benefit not only the Department of Defense but also the broader manufacturing landscape.”

The six winning projects, categorized by their specific thematic focus, represent a spectrum of groundbreaking research endeavors:

Topic 1: Project for Dimensional Inspection of Internal Features via In-Situ Process Monitoring

  • Project 1: Inspection Using In-Situ Height Mapping Data – Team Lead: RTX Technology Research Center, Team Member: Velo3D Inc.

This project aims to develop an in-situ inspection technique utilizing real-time height mapping data during metal AM builds. This innovative approach holds the potential to revolutionize quality control by detecting and mitigating internal feature defects in real time, significantly reducing waste and improving production efficiency.

Topic 2: Thermal Manipulations for Processing Improvements

  • Project 1: Fast Scanning Mirror Wobble Enabled Build Schema – Team Lead: GE Research, Team Member: Johns Hopkins University

This project delves into the exploration of rapid scanning mirror wobble during metal AM builds to enhance thermal management and improve material properties. By manipulating heat generation and distribution, this technology promises to address challenges like residual stress and distortion, leading to stronger and more reliable additively manufactured parts.

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Topic 3: Advanced Materials for Metal AM

  • Project 1: Novel High-Entropy Alloy Feedstock for Wire-Arc Additive Manufacturing of Lightweight and Corrosion-Resistant Components – Team Lead: University of Texas at El Paso

This project focuses on developing novel high-entropy alloy (HEA) feedstock specifically designed for wire-arc AM. HEAs are a new class of metallic materials with exceptional strength, corrosion resistance, and high-temperature performance. This project aims to unlock the potential of HEAs for AM applications, enabling the creation of lightweight and durable components for demanding aerospace and defense applications.

Topic 4: Frameworks for Useful Process Monitoring in Conjunction with Ex-Situ Inspection for Qualification

  • Project 1: A Machine Learning-Driven Framework for In-Process and Ex-Situ Qualification of Additively Manufactured Metal Parts – Team Lead: R3 Digital Sciences Inc., Team Members: Macy Consulting Inc., The Ohio State University Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence, and University of Louisville Additive Manufacturing Institute of Science & Technology

This project proposes a machine learning-driven framework that utilizes both in-process monitoring data and ex-situ inspection results to qualify additively manufactured metal parts. This integrated approach promises to enhance quality assurance and streamline certification processes, paving the way for wider adoption of AM in critical applications.

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Topic 5: Digital Thread Integration for AM Supply Chain

  • Project 1: Digital Thread Integration to Automate Additive Manufacturing Workflows – Team Lead: GE Aviation

This project focuses on developing a digital thread framework that seamlessly integrates various data streams across the AM supply chain, from design to post-processing. By enabling automated workflow and real-time information flow, this project aims to increase efficiency, transparency, and traceability within the AM ecosystem.

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Topic 6: ‘Should vs. Could’ Tool and Training

  • Project 1: America Makes Methods and Approaches for Sustainable Operations – Team Lead: America Makes

This project addresses the crucial need for sustainability assessment tools and training resources within the AM industry. America Makes will develop a comprehensive framework to evaluate the environmental impact of AM processes and guide companies in optimizing their operations for sustainable manufacturing.

The selected projects will commence in January 2024 and are expected to yield significant advancements in their respective areas within a one-year timeframe. Through this Open Project Call, America Makes and the NCDMM is fostering a collaborative environment where industry leaders, academic institutions, and government agencies can come together to tackle critical challenges and drive the continuous evolution of additive manufacturing.

“The projects chosen for this funding opportunity represent a testament to the innovation and dedication of the AM community,” commented Brandon Ribic, Technology Director at America Makes.

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The launch of these six projects marks a significant milestone in the ongoing journey of additive manufacturing. America Makes remains committed to fostering collaboration, driving innovation, and facilitating the widespread adoption of this transformative technology.

By supporting ambitious research endeavors and empowering a diverse community of stakeholders, America Makes paves the way for a future where additive manufacturing unlocks countless possibilities and shapes a more sustainable and competitive industrial landscape.

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