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NASA Awards Optomec an SBIR Contract for Adaptive Laser Sintering

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., July 12, 2017 — Additive manufacturing systems supplier Optomec Inc. has been awarded a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract for the further development of an adaptive laser sintering system (ALSS).

The success of this endeavor will enable electronic circuitry to be printed onto a wider variety of temperature-sensitive substrates, expanding its use for production applications. The fully automated system will also enable printed circuitry to be repaired or manufactured with minimal human intervention, paving the way for its use in long-duration NASA space missions.

"After the successful design, test and implementation of ALSS, the science and technology of laser sintering will be better understood for controllable adaptive operations,” said, Mike Renn, chief technology officer of Optomec. “ALSS can be a key solution to NASA's challenge of in-space, on-demand manufacturing capabilities to support the unique challenges of long-duration human spaceflight, which requires an automated adaptive in-line quality control system along with the associated manufacturing process."

Working in conjunction with Harding University in Searcy, Ark., this project will enhance Optomec laser sintering technology to a fully automated curing system for printed electronics. The Optomec-Harding team seeks to enhance the localized laser sintering concept by developing an ALSS with in situ automated adjustment of laser power and processing time, paving the way for its use in the next generation of human space exploration. The team also hopes to expand use of printed electronics to a broader range of temperature-sensitive substrates used in commercial applications.

The project is also of vital importance to NASA's in-space, on-demand manufacturing capabilities to support the unique challenges of long-duration human spaceflight. The developed automated, in-line quality control system with ALSS will meet the requirements for long-duration human space missions with minimal need for astronaut intervention, allowing NASA to print conformal electronics and sensors onto flexible substrates of various geometrical complexities and then fully cure them using Aerosol Jet technology, all while in space.

Optomec supplies additive manufacturing systems for printed electronics and laser metal deposition used for 3D integrated circuits, printed solar cells, flexible electronics, organic electronics, touch screens, rapid prototyping, rapid manufacturing and blisk repair.
Jul 2017
industrialOptomecmaterialsNASAawardspartnerships3d printingAmericasBusiness

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