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Auburn Hills, MI, United States

Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 97.61K | Year: 2008

Single-crystal blades have proven to have longer thermal and fatigue life, and can be directly fabricated by laser with thinner walls. However, the benefits of single-crystal over conventionally cast and directionally solidified components critically depend on avoiding the introduction of casting defects, such as stray grains, freckles, or deviations from the required crystal orientation. Laser-based direct metal deposition (DMD) process has demonstrated that it can fabricate fully functional metal prototype parts, repair industrial tooling, die casting and forging, and restore wear resistant and corrosion resistant surfaces for turbine blades. The DMD process equipped with proper sensors and numerically controlled devices can help in overcoming those hurdles to fabricate the blades. Not only thermal control to provide uniform heat flow, but spatial control of crystal texture of the blades by feedback control devices is also essential. The goals of proposal are, (1) to establish DMD process conditions and seed grain requirements for secondary grain growth for Ni-based superalloy, (2) to develop and demonstrate a laboratory scale DMD process for spatial control of crystal texture, (3) to develop a process model utilizing phase-field method to describe how spatial control of crystallographic texture affects the performance of Ni-based superalloy turbine blade rotating components.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.50K | Year: 2008

Advanced aero engines use integrally bladed rotor (IBR)/blisks in the compressor. To maintain affordability, the need for weld repairs of either partial or full blades is warranted to avoid expensive IBR/blisk replacements resulting from foreign object damage (FOD) to the airfoils. Adequate repair technology for blisks due to FOD does not exist, and repaired blisks must meet the OEM design properties. Laser-based direct metal deposition (DMD) process has demonstrated that it can fabricate fully functional metal prototype parts, repair industrial tooling, die-casting and forging, and restore wear resistant and corrosion resistant surfaces for turbine blades. The DMD process equipped with proper sensors and numerically controlled devices can help in overcoming those hurdles to fabricate the blades. Not only thermal control to provide uniform heat flow, but spatial control of crystal texture of the blades by feedback control devices is also essential. The goals of proposal are, (1) to conceptualize, evaluate, and determine the feasibility of repair techniques that will restore the airfoils in an IBR/blisk to their original material properties after a FOD event, (2) to demonstrate cost-effectiveness of the proposed technique, (3) to identify hardware and tools needed for the procedure, and (4) evaluate improvements over current repair methodologies.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 78.56K | Year: 2012

In the Navy, severe seawater corrosion is the main cause for damage and failure of high value components in submarine or other vessel components, and weapon systems. While replacement of these components are expensive and time consuming, in-situ repair is challenging due to the geometry constraints by their small bore sizes. Long lead-times and high costs of procuring, inventorying and transporting replacement parts has resulted in a reduction of equipment readiness rates, while DoD operation and support costs have increased. Insertion of additive manufacturing technologies, such as Direct Metal Deposition (DMD) offers an excellent solution to this challenging problem. With its close loop process control and 5-axis deposition capability, DMD allows finer microstructure, shorter heat affected zone, and better mechanical strength of refurbished parts as compared to other open loop processes. This proposal aims to design and develop a new type of wire-based laser cladding nozzle that will be able to meet all the challenges currently facing. Based on POM's extensive past experience in laser cladding nozzle and machine design, a compact nozzle will be designed with quick disconnects for easy and fast mounting/dismounting capability, while a telescopic hardware design will allow deep reach within a short space.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 119.95K | Year: 2003

Direct Metal Deposition (DMDr) is a laser-based, layer additive, direct material deposition process capable of producing fully dense metal alloys from metal powder. It is self-monitoring, enabling 3-dimensional fabrication with minimal operatorintervention. The technology holds promise for repair and fabrication of damaged equipment on the battlefield. The state of the art is not field deployable due to the inefficiency and large footprint of the CO2 or Nd:YAG laser.Diode laser is semiconductor-based technology, having 5x efficiency of existing systems, reducing the footprint by 80%. The fast response time and short (810 micrometer) wavelength would enable increased deposition rate and enhanced dimensional accuracyover current systems. Spot-focused diode lasers are commercially available, enabling the exploratory development of a low-power diode laser DMD process.The Phase I program proposes a feasibility demonstration of a 250-Watt diode laser DMD process. The Phase I Option proposes to increase laser power to 500 Watts and study the deposition rate and dimensional accuracy achievable with the process. Commercialapplication of the process would enable high volume manufacturing of components with enhanced wear-resistant and corrosion-resistant surfaces, such as engine blocks, automotive drive train components and turbine blades. Commercial application of the process would enable high volume manufacturing of components with enhanced wear-resistant and corrosion-resistant surfaces, such as engine blocks, automotive drive train components and turbine blades.Also, table top, direct metal rapid prototype machines could be manufactured, enabling the creation of fully functional metal prototypes, having the full range of mechanical properties as the finished product.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.93K | Year: 2012

ABSTRACT: Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) of aircraft metallic components is an emerging and innovative manufacturing process, which can create or repair metallic parts directly from powder metal. DDM promises cost, time and efficiency benefits over traditional machining processes (in which material is removed using cutting tools) in the area of low production volumes, processes involving constant design iterations and manufacturing parts that have relatively complex geometric shapes. For conventional materials, machining processes and material irregularities they cause are well known and any potential failure points or induced stress points that could result in failures have corrective actions to take (e.g. Heat treat). But the newer technologies of additive metal fabrication materials are unknown. We are proposing a research of the required machining processes (Turning, milling, grinding) for final machining of DDM parts and the standardization of these processes to eliminate stress build up or failure points. Phase I research will be restricted to demonstrate the viability of the DDM process by developing machining parameters that will not alter the DDM part microstructures and define metrics for measuring the effectiveness of implementation of the machining parameters and proposed standards, the methodology used, and concept analytical tools produced. BENEFIT: Worldwide market for titanium alone is estimated at $225bn for 2008-2009. Aerospace, being the single largest user in this market, constitutes 56% of the market segment. 16% is for military aerospace market, while commercial aerospace market is the rest 40%. Non-aerospace market, such as medical devices, chemical, automotive, sports industry together constitutes the rest 44% of the titanium market. Last year alone, 5000MTon of titanium has been used in USA in aerospace applications and 90% of this is structural application. Largest single use of titanium is in the aircraft gas turbine engine. In the most modern jet engines, titanium-based alloy parts make up 20% to 30% of the dry weight, primarily in the compressor. The potential market for this technology, specific to metallic aircraft parts for defense application is estimated to be more than $100 millions annually within Northrop Grummen alone, and more than $500 millions industry-wide. Since DMD, a leading DDM process, integrated with proposed machining parameters, achieving improved dimensional accuracy and material integrity described in this proposal, is enabling and certified, it is expected that fundamentally new design concepts and applications could expand the market well beyond $1 billion. To access this market opportunity, POM will offer application and engineering services to introduce new customers to a state-of-the art DMD technology, and to optimize specific processes. Customers will have the option to have POM directly manufacture production parts, or alternatively, to purchase DMD systems.

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