Optomec Announces New Project Awards for Metal 3D Printing from America Makes

Projects Enable Faster Industrial Adoption and Rapid Process Optimization for LENS Metal Additive Manufacturing.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — January 28, 2014 — Optomec announced today that the company was awarded two projects by America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). Together, these projects will speed industrial adoption of LENS metal additive manufacturing technology while also enabling rapid process optimization for industrial applications.

The Optomec LENS solution is a high quality, industry proven process capable of fully printing 3D metal parts, as well as selectively adding material in 3D to enhance existing parts produced using conventional manufacturing methods.

In the first project, Optomec will work in partnership with Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control, MachMotion, TechSolve, and the U.S. Army Benet Laboratories to develop a modular, cost-effective “LENS Engine” that can be integrated with existing machine tools to enable 3D printing of metals. The resulting hybrid systems will bridge the gap between subtractive and additive manufacturing processes. To reach this goal, the latest in controls, toolpath generation, and quality monitoring will be embedded in a modular design that can be retrofitted into an existing or new CNC machine tool.

In the second project, Optomec will work in partnership with Applied Optimization Inc. to develop a process parameter knowledge base for defect-free 3D printing of metals using the LENS process. The database will allow a process engineer to quickly choose from a matrix of known good process parameters, in effect “recipes,” to eliminate trial-and-error process development. Such programmatic instruction sets will initially be generated for two aerospace alloys using physics-based simulation software, ParaGen, and verified using deposition trials. This procedure is designed to provide a scientific basis for the selection of deposition parameters and can be reused for a variety of materials.

Dr. Richard Grylls, LENS General Manager, stated, “The new capabilities developed under these America Makes projects will provide an evolutionary approach for industry to realize the benefits of metal additive manufacturing solutions. First, the LENS Engine will provide a low-cost entry point for 3D printing of metals because it leverages the widely available installed base of conventional machine tools, enabling additive manufacturing to co-exist with subtractive manufacturing methods. Additionally, the knowledge database will provide a growing repository of proven process parameters, speeding productive use of metal 3D printing with LENS. We are delighted to receive these two project awards from America Makes and to be partnered with world-class companies to bring these new metal additive manufacturing capabilities to industry.”

About America Makes

America Makes is the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. As the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing (3DP), America Makes is the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in AM and 3DP technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. Structured as a public-private partnership with member organizations from industry, academia, government, non-government agencies, and workforce and economic development resources, we are working together to innovate and accelerate AM and 3DP to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness. Based in Youngstown, Ohio, America Makes is the pilot institute for up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes and is driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM). For more information about America Makes, visit  http://americamakes.us.

About Optomec

Optomec is a privately-held, rapidly growing supplier of Additive Manufacturing systems. Optomec’s patented Aerosol Jet Systems for printed electronics and LENS 3D Printers for metal components are used by industry to reduce product cost and improve performance. Together, these unique printing solutions work with the broadest spectrum of functional materials, ranging from electronic inks to structural metals and even biological matter. Optomec has more than 150 marquee customers around the world, targeting production applications in the Electronics, Energy, Life Sciences and Aerospace industries. For more information about Optomec, visit Optomec.com.

Aerosol Jet is a registered trademark of Optomec, Inc.
LENS (Laser Engineered Net Shaping) is a registered trademark of Sandia National Laboratories
ParaGen is a registered trademark of Applied Optimization Inc.


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