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NAMII Selects Project Call Awardees

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, March 20, 2013 — NAMII, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, awarded on August 2012, and driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, is proud to announce the awardees of its initial call for additive manufacturing (AM) applied research and development projects from NAMII members. NAMII will provide $4.5 million in funding toward these projects with the matching cost share from the awarded project teams totaling $5 million.

“As a collective, NCDMM and NAMII found that the submitted proposals detailed highly innovative additive manufacturing project ideas, featuring applied research and development, efficient use of digital data, high sustainability, and aggressive education outreach and workforce training plans,” said NCDMM Vice President and NAMII Director Ed Morris. “The down-select process proved to be intense. NAMII’s fundamental objective is to spawn the creation of new, innovative products and the corresponding U.S. jobs to support them based on the unique capabilities of additive manufacturing. NCDMM and NAMII have selected seven projects that best integrate with the four NAMII thrust areas of technology development, technology transition, advanced manufacturing enterprise, and education/workforce outreach.”
Jennifer Chase Fielding, PhD, NAMII program manager and deputy program manager, defense-wide manufacturing science and technology, Manufacturing Technology Division at Air Force Research Laboratory AFRL/RXMS concurs with Morris.

"The launch of these developmental research projects is an excellent beginning to the formation of NAMII's technology portfolio,” added Fielding. “We are thrilled with the level of collaboration between government, industry, and academia and the resulting value that will be brought to the national additive manufacturing community."

The NAMII Project Call, which was released on November 27, 2012, at the Defense Manufacturing Conference in Orlando, Fla., was focused on three technical topic areas: Materials Understanding and Performance; Qualification and Certification; and Process Capability and Characterization/Process Control. Proposals submitted to NAMII were to address one or more technical topic areas, but had to address all evaluation criteria.

Additionally, since one of NAMII’s key tenets as established by NCDMM is to promote and provide educational outreach and workforce development training, plans for these components had to be integrated into project proposals as well. For example, additive manufacturing curricula will be developed based on project results for high school pre-engineering courses, as well as community college, undergraduate and graduate university classes.

The seven selected projects span a variety of metals and polymeric additive manufacturing processes and materials with near-term technical achievements impacting multiple key markets within a few months. Moreover, they represent excellent teaming by NAMII members with more than 30 different participating organizations, including eight universities and 25 industry partners from both small and large businesses. Subject to the finalization of all contractual details and requirements, the approved NAMII projects are as follows:

“Maturation of Fused Depositing Modeling (FDM) Component Manufacturing” – Rapid Prototype + Manufacturing LLC (RP+M)
Led by small business part producer, RP+M, in partnership with equipment manufacturers and large industry system integrators and the University of Dayton Research Institute, this project will provide the community with a deeper understanding of the properties and opportunities of the high-temperature polymer, ULTEM™ 9085. Some of the key outcomes from this project include a design guide; critical materials and processing data; and machine, material, part and process certification.

“Qualification of Additive Manufacturing Processes and Procedures for Repurposing and Rejuvenation of Tooling” – Case Western Reserve University
Led by Case Western Reserve University, in partnership with several additive manufacturers, die casters, computer modelers and the North American Die Casting Association, this project will develop, evaluate and qualify methods for repairing and repurposing tools and dies. Die casting tools are very expensive — sometimes exceeding $1 million each — and require long lead times to manufacture. The ability to repair and repurpose tools and dies can save energy and costs, and reduce lead time by extending tool life through use of the additive manufacturing techniques developed by this team.

“Sparse-Build Rapid Tooling by Fused Depositing Modeling (FDM) for Composite Manufacturing and Hydroforming” – Missouri University of Science and Technology

“Fused Depositing Modeling (FDM) for Complex Composites Tooling” – Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
Two projects focusing on fused depositing modeling (FDM) are to be co-led developed in close collaboration by Missouri University of Science and Technology and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, in partnership with other small and large companies and the Robert C. Byrd Institute’s Composite Center of Excellence. These projects address a key near-term opportunity for additive manufacturing:  the ability to rapidly and cost-effectively produce tooling for composite manufacturing. Polymer composite tools often involve expensive, complex machined, metallic structures that can take months to manufacture. Recent developments with high-temperature polymeric tooling, such as the ULTEM™ 9085 material, show great promise for low-cost, energy-saving tooling options for the polymer composites industry. In addition, these projects will explore the use of sparse-build tools, minimizing material use for the needs of the composite process. Composites are high-strength materials that are used in a wide range of industries and can be used for lightweighting, a key strategy for reducing energy use.

“Maturation of High-Temperature Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) Technologies and Infrastructure” – Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
Led by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, in partnership with several industry team members, this project will develop a selective laser sintering (SLS) process for a lower-cost, high-temperature thermoplastic for making air and space vehicle components and other commercial applications. In addition, recyclability and reuse of materials will also be explored to maximize cost savings and promote sustainability.

“Thermal Imaging for Process Monitoring and Control of Additive Manufacturing” – Penn State University Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP 3D)
Led by Penn State University, in partnership with several industry and university team members, this project will expand the use of thermal imaging for process monitoring and control of electron beam direct manufacturing (EBDM) and laser engineered net shaping (LENS) additive manufacturing processes. Improvements to the EBDM and LENS systems will enable 3-D visualization of the measured global temperature field and real-time control of electron beam or laser power levels based on thermal image characteristics. These outcomes will enable the community to have greater confidence on part properties and quality using these technologies.

“Rapid Qualification Methods for Powder Bed Direct Metal Additive Manufacturing Processes” – Case Western Reserve University
Led by Case Western Reserve University, in partnership with leading aerospace industry companies and other industry and university team members, this project will improve the industry’s ability to understand and control microstructure and mechanical properties across EOS Laser Sintering and Arcam Electron Beam Melting (EBM®) powder bed processes. Process-based cost modeling with variable production volumes will also be delivered, providing the community with valuable cost estimates for new product lines. The outcomes from this project will deliver much needed information to qualify these production processes for use across many industries.

“Today’s announcement of NAMII’s first project call awardees is the continuation of the industrious and high-energy pace that NCDMM has established for NAMII since its founding a mere seven months ago as the pilot institute for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) infrastructure,” said Ralph Resnick, NCDMM president and executive director and NAMII founding director. “This initial award of projects marks the beginning of additional awards to come that will accelerate the integration of additive manufacturing into mainstream manufacturing.”

In addition to today’s project award announcement, NAMII is also announcing that it will conduct Program Management Review and Project Kickoff meetings for NAMII members only on April 2-3 in Youngstown, Ohio. Upon conclusion of the Project Kickoff meeting, more details on the project awards will be made available by the respective awardees.

NAMII will also officially announce its next project call at the RAPID 2013 Conference and Exposition on June 10-13 in Pittsburgh, Pa. This next project call will reflect further refined and key strategic topic areas necessary for NAMII to meet the needs of industry partners and enable the widespread adoption of additive manufacturing technologies and innovations.

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