Raytheon Technologies and Army Research Lab Pick 3D Systems’ Metal Additive Manufacturing Solutions

3D Systems’ DMP Factory 500 solution will be part of research effort to develop topological optimization that accounts for heat transfer.

3D Systems’ DMP Factory 500 solution will be part of research effort to develop topological optimization that accounts for heat transfer.

3D Systems has been selected by Raytheon Technologies and the Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory (ARL) as part of a research project titled “Research for Virtual Design and Qualification Process for Additively Manufactured Parts Optimized for Multi-Laser Machines” awarded through the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences’ (NCMS) Advanced Manufacturing, Materials, and Processes (AMMP) program. 

Working in conjunction with Raytheon Technologies, the Penn State Applied Research Lab, Johns Hopkins University and Identify3D, the goal is to optimize a component relative to an Army modernization product to maximize cooling and improve overall system performance. Using additive manufacturing (AM) to address this need is a novel approach to the project that covers the entire part lifecycle including determining performance requirements, topologically optimizing the design, manufacturing the part with attention to process monitoring for quality control, component performance validation, and data security.  

“The novel integration and concurrent design of structures, materials, and processes to create topologically optimized heat exchangers will enable disruptive advancements in munitions technology in support of multiple Army Modernization Priorities,” says Dr. Brandon McWilliams, deputy program manager at the CCDC ARL Weapons and Materials Directorate.

AIG Solution

3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group (AIG) designed a solution built on the company’s DMP Factory 500 solution for its build volume (up to 500x500x500 mm) and its ability to produce parts spanning the entire build area without the need for stitching. The AIG has architected a custom configuration of the DMP Factory 500 that includes multiple modules to meet the requirements of this application.

This advanced metal production system recently installed and commissioned at Penn State’s Center for Innovative Material Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D) in December 2020, will be powered by the company’s 3DXpert additive manufacturing software and LaserForm materials. This particular printer will be upgraded with some of the technologies 3D Systems is working on for its 9-laser, 1 m x 1 m x 600 mm metal 3D printer including coaxial process monitoring and a high-contrast single-lens reflex (SLR) camera within the build chamber that delivers a comprehensive view of the build in situ.

By using the same optical train included in the even larger frame, 9-laser system, the development activity on the DMP Factory 500 will be directly transferrable to the larger system. 3D Systems’ AIG application experts will continue to provide support throughout the project, including design guidance and training. 

“Our work with the Army Research Laboratory is taking 3D Systems’ technology in new directions,” says Chuck Hull, co-founder and chief technology officer, 3D Systems. “We’re able to combine our metal 3D printing innovation with unique advancements in process modeling and monitoring, data security, and topology optimization to deliver an unparalleled solution. ARL is strengthening its position as a leader in technology innovation to improve the capabilities of the warfighter and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with them.” 

In addition to the thermal application, this team will also develop and evaluate new technology for process modeling and defect prediction, process monitoring and defect detection, topology optimization and cyberphysical security.

“The migration to larger build envelopes significantly expands the domain of Department of Defense applications addressable by additive manufacturing, yet it brings new challenges for process monitoring and quality control,” says Ted Reutzel, associate research professor, Penn State’s Applied Research Lab, and director, Penn State’s CIMP-3D. “The installation of this system at our Center will enable our team to leverage prior developments—funded by the US Navy, US Air Force, America Makes, and others—to help meet these challenges and rapidly integrate advanced flaw detection technologies.”

“The team is establishing a singular fluid architecture that encompasses design optimization, sensing, machine learning, security, testing, and production,” says Lisa Strama, president and CEO of NCMS, a cross-industry technology development consortium. “This will result in a prototype-based upon a holistic, machine agnostic, interconnected workflow. Leveraging the NCMS’ AMMP program and our trusted collaborative model, this project fully showcases the advancements made possible and efficiencies gained when bringing together OEMs, non-traditional defense contractors, and academia to address the full life-cycle of Army relevant components.”

“Identify3D is proud to be part of this program by providing end-to-end protection of the core manufacturing process from build file generation to DMP Factory 500 production and sensor data generation,” says Chris Adkins, chief scientist, Identify3D. “In addition to the DMP Factory 500 integration, Identify3D is developing an architecture to securely collect sensor data in the inspection and defection detection workflow as well as secure the design and defect prediction process to ultimately optimize the full digital workflow.”

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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