Additive Manufacturing of Critical Components – Phase II

NCMS Project #: 142094

Problem: Traditional multi-step manufacturing techniques are costly, time consuming and can create significant delays for organizations charged with keeping both commercial and military vehicle fleets operational.  Additive Manufacturing (AM) offers a unique solution to this problem but testing of critical parts and components manufactured via AM has lagged behind current technologies.  Challenges that exist with AM are the lack of defined standards for the qualification and certification of the materials and processes, and variability from process to process.  This lack of standards and certification has an adverse effect on maintenance and sustainment tasks and can prolong the repairs of critical equipment as maintainers must wait for traditionally manufactured parts from a sluggish supply system.

Benefit: The completion of these tasks will serve as an example to the commercial industry in providing a more cost-effective process to develop, manufacture, test and certify critical components using AM processes.  Being able to rapidly design and qualify components will reduce the time traditionally spent designing and qualifying critical components, which will improve parts availability, reduce supply chain costs and increase the operational readiness of vehicles and equipment.

Solution/Approach: Phase II will largely build upon the objectives from Phase I, with a focus on an investigation into the technology-specific material characteristics and deployment and operational ramifications.  While little will be added to the Phase I database, the information contained within it will be applied to several AM component prototypes.  Improved operational performance with respect to productivity, mechanical properties, light weighting, complex geometry, and rapid manufacture in distributed environments will continue to be optimized for each component, specifically steel and titanium.  Phase II will analyze the entire End to End (E2E) AM process, from design to manufacture, for cyber vulnerabilities and appropriate mitigation strategies identified.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Greater operational flexibility and readiness
  • Reduced maintenance and sustainment costs
  • Enhance and modernize supply chains producing parts at point of need
  • Quick and secure access to needed information

DOD Participation:

  • Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC)

Industry Participation:

  • Eaton Corporation
  • University of Michigan
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Maintenance avoidance and reliability
  • Safety
  • Improved readiness
  • Survivability
  • Durability
  • Reliability improvement
  • Lightweighting

Focus Area:

  • Advanced/additive manufacturing