The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded nearly $4 million in grants to help accelerate the adoption of new measurement methods and standards to advance U.S. competitiveness in metals-based additive manufacturing (AM). According to NIST, these projects will improve U.S. manufacturers’ ability to use metals-based additive manufacturing to make high-quality, innovative and complex products at high volume. Through its own research and with these grants, NIST is addressing barriers to adoption of additive manufacturing, including surface finish and quality issues, dimensional accuracy, fabrication speed, material properties and computational requirements.
If you’re at all like me, you wonder which articles get the most attention on our website. Every year we publish around 45 feature articles, and at the end of the year we gather statistics to see which ones get the most page views. So, without further ado, here are the five most-viewed articles on www.industrialheating.com based on page views. This ranking applies only to articles published in 2020.
General Motors announced the opening of its 15,000-square-foot Additive Industrialization Center (AIC), a facility exclusively dedicated to productionizing 3D-printing technology in the automotive industry. The AIC is the capstone of GM’s increased investment in 3D printing over the last several years. The facility in Warren, Mich., includes 24 3D printers that create polymer and metal solutions. GM’s additive design and manufacturing team leverages a number of processes at the AIC, including selective laser sintering, selective laser melting, multi-jet fusion and fused deposition modeling.
Liberty Powder Metals, part of the GFG Alliance, started commercial production at its new Teesside powder-metals facility, targeting fast-growing demand from the 3D-printing industry. The company will produce a range of stainless steel and nickel superalloy powders for precision components in the automotive, aerospace and engineering industries. Minute spherical powder particles are processed to the highest specifications in a vacuum induction argon gas atomizer, which Liberty Powder Metals says is the only one of its kind in the U.K.
Our take on metals additive manufacturing (AM) is that it has made it past the “valley of death” in the so-called hype curve. It is being used widely and sometimes for unexpected applications. For example, I was impressed to hear a presentation from the Sonova Group about printing custom hearing-aid earpieces in titanium, for which the unexpected benefit was much better robustness against being dropped on the floor and crushed underfoot.
Advanced Powder Products (APP) completed construction of a new 25,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Philipsburg, Pa. It will house a state-of-the-art quality laboratory, increased processing capabilities, automation development and a research-and-development center. APP plans on hiring skilled engineers, technicians and entry-level manufacturing support. The facility will support company growth by adding capacity. APP specializes in metallurgy, engineering, metal injection molding (MIM) and 3D metal printing to manufacture precision metal components for the medical device, industrial, automotive, aerospace and defense industries.
GE Additive announced that Sandvik Additive Manufacturing has become a strategic partner in its binder-jet beta partner program. Sandvik will work closely with GE Additive to become a certified metal powder supplier for a range of Osprey alloys that complement GE Additive’s own materials portfolio. Sandvik will also use GE Additive’s H2 binder-jet beta machine to support its internal and external customers. According to Sandvik, the materials collaboration with GE Additive provides opportunities to qualify its range of Osprey metal powders for the binder-jet platform and to improve product performance.
The ExOne Company was awarded a contract to develop binder-jet manufacturing processes for a novel steel alloy for the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Awarded by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), the contract aims to develop and qualify AF-9628, a high-strength steel developed by the Air Force, for binder-jet 3D printing.
Eaton announced that its Vehicle Group is implementing a new 3D metal-printing program as a part of its Industry 4.0 strategy to reduce development time and improve efficiency. The first metal printer system was installed at its Kings Mountain, N.C., facility, and a global deployment of 3D polymer printing technology is slated to be completed by first-quarter 2021.
Desktop Metal has been awarded Phase I of a three-year, $2.45 million project from the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop an additive-manufacturing (AM) process capable of mass producing cobalt-free hardmetals developed by the U.S. Army. The company’s Production System with single-pass jetting (SPJ), a proprietary AM technology developed by Desktop Metal, will mass manufacture complex-shaped, cobalt-free hardmetal parts without tooling. It is expected to lead to the development of a dual-use technology with numerous applications for the DoD as well as in the civilian sector, including parts for the steel and aerospace industries.