The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded GE with a $9 million grant to create a new framework for the rapid qualification and certification of 3D Printed parts.
According to GE, the framework will result in exact digital models of replacement or newly designed parts for real-time usage.
The team which includes GE Aviation, GE Additive, Honeywell, Penn State, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Navy Nuclear Lab (NNL) and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), will build digital twins from model-based data on parts and sensor-based data from 3D metal printers to dramatically speed up the qualification and certification process.
The process will be used for replicating and printing replacement parts no longer manufactured for various naval marine and aviation assets and to create parts for newly designed assets.
Having a rapid process for producing and installing replacement parts would greatly support the U.S. Navy’s efforts to manage and maintain excellence for an aging Navy fleet.
“We’re already seeing the proliferation of 3D printing in the automotive sector, which are enabling the manufacture of outdated car parts no longer being made. When it comes to mission-critical assets like Naval ships and aircraft, the bar is higher for producing high quality parts that encounter much higher stresses and tolerances,” said Ade Makinde, Principal Engineer, Additive Technologies at GE Global Research.
The four- year program will occur in two two-year phases. Phase 1 will focus on the underlying software and hardware developments.
In Phase 2, the team will build a complete additive system that demonstrates the rapid and robust creation of a part’s digital model or digital twin and printing of that part using a 3D Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM) printer.
Image and content: GE Global Research