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USAF Rapid Sustainment Office Rewards Manufacturing Leaders

The U.S. Air Force’s Rapid Sustainment Office awarded teams nearly $1 million for developing sustainment solutions in its Advanced Manufacturing Olympics.

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The U.S. Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office’s first Advanced Manufacturing Olympics virtually gathered experts from industry, academia and government from October 20-23, 2020 to explore advanced manufacturing deployment possibilities across the Department of Defense and Air Force.

“Seventy percent of the cost of our weapons systems is in sustainment,” says Lt. Gen. Shaun Q. Morris, commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and program executive officer for the Rapid Sustainment Office. “AMO was critical in helping us find new talent and push the envelope into technology like 3D printing, predictive maintenance and reverse engineering.”

The Advanced Manufacturing Olympics included five Technical Challenges based on the Air Force’s most significant sustainment issues. Teams representing startups, established companies and universities across the U.S. and Canada competed for nearly $1,000,000 in cash prizes to continue developing their winning solution. A panel of 25 subject matter experts from academia, military and industry judged the Technical Challenges.

The first place winners in each of the five Technical Challenges include:

TDP Relay:

MakerGear earned first place for printing parts using its MakerGear M3 printer and Natural PLA filament.

Box of Parts Floor Exercise:

Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) earned first place for excellent accuracy in reverse engineering parts using Faro’s 8-Axis Quantum5 FaroArm and FAROBlu Scanner.

Material Hurdles:

Elementum 3D Inc. earned first place for selecting high-strength 7050 RAM2 aluminum additively manufactured using an EOS M290 printer to replace 7075 aluminum alloy.

Approval Sprints:

Stress Engineering Services, Inc., Origin and nTopology Inc. earned first place for performing daily design iterations and delivering an optimized DLP clamp design with a Henkel Loctite material rated for Flame Smoke & Toxicity.

Supply Chain Marathon:

SIMBA Chain earned first place for demonstrating how its self-contained Rapid Additive Manufacturing Lab could support military wartime operations.

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