Jul 25, 2018 | By Thomas

Carbon fiber material recycling specialist Vartega and the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association on July 24 announced the formation of the Advanced Materials and Additive Manufacturing Infrastructure Development and Education (AMIDE) Alliance. The goal of the alliance is to provide critical resources for the development of thermoplastics for additive manufacturing.

“There was so much great work happening in Colorado around the adoption and acceleration of 3D printing, but we kept running into the same problems sourcing and developing new materials and identifying local expertise for these applications,” says Vartega CEO Andrew Maxey.

“As we recognized this gap in the supply chain and workforce, we were able to work with our customers and partners to put together a vision of what a vertically integrated supply chain would look like. We’re excited to be part of the newly formed AMIDE Alliance to close this gap and increase innovation in this growing and important area of manufacturing.”

The founding partners of the alliance include Vartega, CCIA, Colorado State University, EWI, and The 3D Printing Store. Additional support comes from the American Composites Manufacturers Association, Arkema, Autodesk, Colorado School of Mines, Lulzbot, the Composite and Nanocomposite Advanced Manufacturing Center, etc and Colorado manufacturers which already have new products in development using advanced materials and manufacturing methods, including 3D-printed and extruded carbon fiber thermoplastics.

Vartega produces recycled carbon fiber from scrap material generated in aerospace, automotive, wind energy and sporting goods manufacturing. They combine their recycled carbon fiber with thermoplastics to make custom materials for use in 3D printer filament and injection molding for applications such as sporting goods, consumer products and car parts. Through its participation in the AMIDE Alliance, Vartega will make capital equipment investments to increase the production of custom thermoplastic formulations in Colorado.

Shelly Curtiss, CCIA executive director, notes, “Advanced materials and additive manufacturing are impacting just about every industry right now. We see a huge opportunity to leverage these new developments throughout the cleantech sector for the benefit of our members who are focused on renewables, energy efficiency, clean water, oil and gas, mining and transportation.”

Vartega, Colorado State University and the Colorado School of Mines will be creating at least three innovation centers in Colorado focused on the development and application of fiber-reinforced thermoplastics and additive manufacturing materials.

The Colorado State University center will be located at the Composite Materials, Manufacture and Structures Laboratory (CMMS), where a six-axis robotic system will be installed for direct manufacture of continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites.

The Colorado School of Mines center will be located in the Interdisciplinary Advanced Manufacturing Teaching Lab. This center will house a Hewlett Packard Jet Fusion 580 3D Printer for evaluation and characterization of fiber-reinforced polymer powders being developed by project partners.

The third innovation center will be located at an industry partner facility and will include extrusion equipment for the development of fiber-reinforced thermoplastics for 3D printing applications.

In addition to the innovation centers, EWI in Loveland, Colorado, will provide advanced nondestructive evaluation, modeling and inspection services to support the ongoing new materials development.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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