New York-based software company, nTopology has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The parties aim to develop advanced additive manufacturing capabilities, commercially available to the broader market.
Integrating nTopology’s software into ORNL’s machine control capabilities, the collaboration aims to optimize the manufacturing process, including build speed and the use of materials. Reusable template production and improved design controls are expected impacts, as well as cost savings due to reduced material usage and machine cost amortization.
Following the CRADA
In Phase One, a toolkit will be developed, enabling connection from nTop Platform directly to the ORNL slicer to fabricate parts on Big Area Additive Manufacturing systems. Focusing on large-scale polymer 3D printing, the planned toolkit within nTop Platform will aim to optimize design and print preparation for the BAAM machine.
Phase Two includes the development of other toolkits. One shall engineer direct metal grain growth with an Electron Beam Manufacturing (EBM) system, such as Arcam. The other one will be created to design honeycomb infill based on circle packing and simulation for fused deposition modeling (FDM). Simulation-based optimization of support structures is also planned for systems like BAAM, Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) and EBM.
Duann Scott, Vice President of Partnerships and Business Development at nTopology, said, “The team at ORNL is undertaking some of the most cutting-edge research and development of advanced manufacturing processes in the world. Capturing that expertise and making it available as toolkits within nTop Platform will not only enable ORNL, but all nTop users, to leverage that expertise to design and manufacture the most advanced products in the world, and space,”
Michael Borish, ORNL’s lead researcher added, “We look forward to collaborating with nTopology to enhance large-scale polymer 3D printing capabilities and anticipate the development of novel software to improve printing processes.”
ORNL’s efforts to Industrialize AM technology
ORNL has a history of collaborations, aiming to industrialize additive manufacturing technology.
Last October, GE Additive also entered into a five-year CRADA with ORNL. Both parties have agreed to focus on industrialization and to support the broader adoption of additive manufacturing technology.
ExOne also revealed that it was working with ORNL to advance binder jet technology for sand and metal 3D printers. The two organizations have been working on developing binder jet technology since 2015.
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Featured image shows Duann Scott (left), Philip Schiffrin (center) and Jonathan Harris (right), from nTopology, at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory facility to kick off the project. Photo via nTopology.