MRO Magazine

Funding for joint additive manufacturing/3D-printing product R&D efforts

August 11, 2016 | By Rehana Begg

Cleveland – Lincoln Electric is part of a team that has received funding through America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, in conjunction with the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), for pursuing its patented laser hot wire technology for additive manufacturing (AM). This latest round of funding takes this technology to the next level of commercialization for enabling medium and big area additive manufacturing projects.

The $1 million in funding the team receives for product development efforts is part of $11 million offered to participating teams through this program. This funding award supports the team’s $2 million project entry, “MULTI: Source/FeedStock/Meter-Scale METAL AM Machine.”

The project team also includes: Caterpillar Inc., EWI, GKN Aerospace, IPG Photonics Corp., ITAMCO, Oak Ridge National Lab, United Technologies Corp., and University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Together, team members will use the funding to build upon an existing, alpha-generation CAD-to-path robotic software tool, testing and refining it for a commercial first release. The team also will conduct basic process testing to bundle the software with a multi-process, multi-meter, multi-material, process-ready, robot-based, 3D-printing (3DP) system.

“This award is another step in a multi-year journey advancing robotic additive manufacturing, an effort that has engaged several members of the Wolf Robotics team,” notes Doug Rhoda, president of Wolf Robotics, a Lincoln Electric Company.  “We are one of America Makes’ first members. Our relationship with the organization, as well as that with Oak Ridge National Lab’s, Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, has been nothing but positive. As a team, we are moving this game-changing, additive-manufacturing capability forward in much faster and more effective ways than we ever could accomplish individually.”


Upon completion, the team anticipates a commercially available, multi-planner CAD-to-path software tool will be developed as the key workforce, education and outreach (WEO) component, enabling the production of medium-area AM (MAAM) and big-area AM (BAAM) manufactured parts within the mainstream marketplace. They are targeting early adopters investing in new additive manufacturing systems to produce titanium and steel parts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory via America Makes program.

As the national accelerator for additive manufacturing and 3D printing, America Makes is the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in AM and 3DP technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. Its Project Call partner, NCDMM delivers optimized manufacturing solutions that enhance the quality, affordability, maintainability and rapid deployment of existing and yet-to-be developed defense systems through collaboration with government, industry and academic organizations.

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