The United States Air Force has put out two research contracts to 3D Systems (3DS) to develop advanced manufacturing 3D printing capabilities.
The USAF’s high demand for printing advanced maps is what led them to giving out the lucrative deals, which are worth USD$1 million each and are funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory.
"These important research projects will position leading industry manufacturers to 3D print high-performance precision parts at convincing scale with enhanced functionality,” raved Neal Orringer, Vice President of 3DS Alliances & Partnerships. “3D Systems pioneered the use of advanced manufacturing for aerospace and defense applications and is proud to work with such esteemed partners to further advance these technologies and meet and exceed the future demands of the Air Force."
The first of the two contracts partners 3DS with the University of Delaware’s Center for the Composite Manufacturing, Sandia National Laboratory, and Lockheed Martin. Together they will work to merge predictive technologies with SLS 3D printers to dynamically monitor parts at the layer level during the process of manufacturing.
The second contract is executed in partnership with Pennsylvania State University’s Applied Research Laboratory, Honeywell International, and Northrop Grumman. It enables aerospace and defense manufacturers to have total control over all aspects of the direct metal manufacturing process at the layer level. It delivers metal parts that are chemically pure, fully dense, and flight-worthy.
“The collaborative – and forward looking – initiative of America Makes members is driving extraordinary strides in 3D printing-centric advanced manufacturing for this important industry,” says Ralph Resnick, the founding director and executive director of America Makes. “America Makes is grateful for the support and funding from AFRL to enable important research like this.”
3DS invented 3D printing with its Stereolithography (SLA) printer, and was the first to commercialize it in 1989. They also invented Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printing and was the first to commercialize it three years later.
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