Manufacturing News of Note: July 2017

A big R&D agreement looks at additive for structural airplane components, Autodesk appoints a new president and other industry news.

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The GKN Additive Manufacturing Research Cell at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

GKN Aerospace and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have signed a five-year research agreement focused on additive manufacturing. Utilizing the DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL, this $17.8 million cooperative research and development agreement will focus on additive manufacturing processes, supporting progress toward their use in the manufacture of major, structural components for aircraft.

The first focus of the agreement will be to develop the laser metal deposition process with wire (LMD-w). LMD-w is an additive manufacturing technique that builds metal structures by using a laser to melt metal wire into beads onto a substrate layer by layer. The partnership aims to create a prototype machine that will manufacture complex medium- and large-scale aircraft structures in titanium. The second focus will develop the electron beam melting (EBM) process for producing precise, complex, small- to medium-size components. In EBM, metal powder is melted with an electron beam, again building up the component layer by layer. The partnership will support work already in progress, aiming to make this process ready for introduction into full-scale, high-volume aerospace production.

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