Ingersoll Machine Tools, ORNL to develop very large 3D printing system

Announced at IMTS on the 12th of September, Ingersoll Machine Tools is forming a partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop WHAM. Wide and High Additive Manufacturing, or WHAM, will be a very large AM system featuring targeted laydown rates of 1,000 lb/hr on a build envelop of 23 ft wide by 10 ft high by 46 ft long, which is massive.

The machine would represent an order of magnitude increase in speed and size over current large-format additive manufacturing systems. They could be commercially available sometime in the next 18-24 months.

Image: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Image: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The WHAM system includes automatic exchange of the printing extruder with a high-speed, 5-axis milling attachment for conventional subtractive finishing operations. The material to for which the machine will be first developed to apply Techmer’s (Clinton, Tennessee) ABS with 10% chopped carbon fiber reinforcement.

Machine tools developer Ingersoll says it will draw on its experience developing and manufacturing CNC maching systems, as well as automated fiber placement (AFP) machines. Tino Oldani, president and CEO of Ingersoll, said, “Our machine design expertise, combined with the ability to develop a complete process for our customers, makes WHAM a logical step forward. Our partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory gives us a huge advantage.”

Image: Ingersoll Machine Tools
Image: Ingersoll Machine Tools

Wind energy, aerospace, automotive and defense will be the primary targeted markets. Ingersoll has entered the WHAM development process through a cooperative research and development agreement with Oak Ridge.

“Our collaboration with Ingersoll on the development of a 3D printer that provides a volume not possible with current printers could open up new markets and applications in defense, energy and other areas of manufacturing. Ingersoll brings years of experience engineering massive equipment in the composites area, and we look forward to a successful partnership,” said Bill Peter, director of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL.

Featured image: Composites World

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