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Optomec to Lead 3-D Printing Study for U.S. Air Force
Jun 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., June 25, 2014 — Optomec will lead a two-year, $4 million project exploring additive manufacturing techniques for repair of aerospace metal components for the U.S. Air Force.

The project, called “Re-Born in the USA” was awarded by America Makes, the national additive manufacturing innovation institute, and involves 23 partner corporations and institutions. Costs will be covered by about $2.6 million in public funds and $1.4 million in private cost shares.

Optomec will bring to bear Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) 3-D metal printing techniques in search of a cost-effective approach to replace conventional repair processes such as manual welding. The LENS process can add metal onto an existing substrate of almost any 3-D shape, unlike other additive manufacturing methods that require a flat surface.

The potential benefits of using additive manufacturing to repair high-value metal components include lower costs, higher quality, longer life and faster return to service, the company said.

Project partners include GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin, the United Technologies Research Center and Rolls-Royce, as well as a group of technical experts serving as lead contributors, including EWI, the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, TechSolve, the Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Lab and Concurrent Technologies Corp.

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