3D Systems (3DS) has secured two contracts to develop advanced manufacturing 3D printing capabilities for the US Air Force (USAF).
The Air Force Research Laboratory-funded $1m contracts are administered by America Makes and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
The agreements leverage the company’s proprietary selective laser sintering (SLS) and direct metal 3D printing (DMP) portfolio to meet USAF’s demanding advanced manufacturing road map.
3DS Alliances & Partnerships vice-president Neal Orringer said: "These important research projects will position leading industry manufacturers to 3D print high-performance precision parts at convincing scale with enhanced functionality.
"3D Systems pioneered the use of advanced manufacturing for aerospace and defence 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."
America Makes founding director and executive director Ralph Resnick said: "The collaborative and forward-looking initiative of America Makes members is driving extraordinary strides in 3D printing centric advanced manufacturing for this important industry."
Under the first contract, the company will partner the University of Delaware’s Center for Composite Manufacturing, Sandia National Laboratory, and Lockheed Martin to integrate predictive technologies with its SLS 3D printers to dynamically monitor parts at the layer level during the manufacturing process.
The move aims to ensure optimum accuracy and repeatability of manufactured aerospace parts.
The second contract is jointly executed with the Applied Research Laboratory of Pennsylvania State University, Honeywell International, and Northrop Grumman. It leverages 3DS’ DMP to enable aerospace and defence manufacturers to gain full control of every aspect of the direct metal manufacturing process at the layer level, delivering fully dense, chemically pure, flight-worthy metal parts.
Work under the two contracts is scheduled to start in the near future.
Image: The contracts leverage 3DS’ selective laser sintering and direct metal 3D printing portfolio to meet USAF’s advanced manufacturing road map. Photo: courtesy of 3D Systems, Inc.