What rapid manufacturing technologies will work for direct digital manufacturing in aerospace applications? In the past years, Sciaky, Inc., Chicago, a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries (PSI) has captured the attention of the aerospace and defense industries.
Sciaky's exclusive Direct Manufacturing (DM) process, which utilizes wire-feed electron beam welding technology to build parts up, layer by layer, has been utilized over the years in different industries. Parts manufactured with this process can range up to 19 feet in length, 4 feet in width and 4 feet high (19'x4'x4').
The cost-effective advantage comes from the power density of the electron beam. The electron beam welding systems typically come with 42 kilowatts of power through standard 60/60 electron beam gun. That allows deposition rates of 15 to 40 pounds per hour for materials like titanium. Most competing processes are typically less than five pounds per hour.
In December 2011 Sciaky entered a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Mentor-Protégé Agreement with the Aeronautics business area of global security giant Lockheed Martin to advance Sciaky's EBDM technology.
Under the agreement, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics will help Sciaky expand the manufacturing capacity and management infrastructure to deliver affordable, high-quality, innovative titanium raw material pre-forms in quantities that will support future DoD and prime contractor needs. The initial focus of this agreement will be on manufacturing titanium structural components for Lockheed's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the largest and most important defense program in US.
This is indeed a game-changer," said Stephen O'Bryan, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics vice president, F-35 program integration and business development, about Sciaky's technology.
Lockheed is anxious to apply the technology to the fabrication of titanium parts for the F-35. They see a dramatic reduce in the cost of manufacturing parts without sacrificing quality.
For example, using the EBDM process to make the flaperon spar on the F-35 wing can save about $100 million over the lifetime of the aircraft when compared to the previously used manufacturing method. If Lockheed uses this techology to produce other titanium parts for production run of more than 3,000 fighter jets, according to O'Bryan, it could save them hundreds of millions.
"This type of agreement makes sure that our war fighters are equipped with the best that industry has to offer," said Tom Simmons, Lockheed's vice president, supply chain management.
For Sciaky the aerospace industry may be just the beginning. Sciaky has targeted more than 30 other industries for further commercialization of its material deposition technology.
In February 2012, Sciaky teamed up with the Applied Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University to advance DDM technology, via funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Under terms of the agreement, a 6,000 square foot Center for Innovative Metal Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D) will be established within the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State to serve as a world-class Manufacturing Demonstration Facility under DARPA's Open Manufacturing initiative.
Posted in 3D Printers
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slipshine wrote at 1/18/2013 5:00:44 PM:
Someone better alert congress. Soo we will all be printing our own fighter jets.