Additive Manufacturing for Fleet Casting Sustainment

NCMS Project #: 140861

Problem: The development of new Additive Manufacturing technologies has great potential to modernize the U.S. foundry industry to produce complex castings at lower cost and schedule. Metal castings used within these industries are typically high cost/long lead time items, which produces a challenge for sustaining a reliable supply chain to support maintenance and sustainment for the warfighter.

Benefit: The overall benefit of the project is to develop processes and new technology tools to reduce the costs, reduce design iterations, casting discrepancies, and delivery time for metal castings.

Solution/Approach: The intent of this project is to implement a dual technical solution to greatly reduce the cost and lead-time facing commercial foundries:

  • Solidification Analysis tools will be used to evaluate mold design candidates with the ultimate goal of predicting mold flaws numerically before producing molds. The intent of the analysis is to greatly reduce the number of mold design iterations.
  • Additive Manufacturing technology in the form of “sand printing equipment” will be used to produce physical sand molds directly from digital CAD data. This technical innovation completely eliminates the need to produce costly and complex patterns.

As a testbed within this project, a number of complex Navy castings will be employed from initial design to final casting development.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Improved delivery times
  • Reduced waste and design iterations
  • Reduced maintenance costs

DOD Participation:

  • NAVAIR
  • NAVSEA
  • U.S. Navy (NUWC Keyport)
  • U.S. Navy (NSWC Carderock)

Industry Participation:

  • University of Northern Iowa
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Costs savings
  • Repair turn-around time
  • Obsolescence management and continued maintenance capability
  • Improved readiness

Focus Area:

  • Additive/advanced manufacturing