The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is to award USD$5 million to the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) for a collaborative research effort, involving some 27 companies, universities and national laboratories to improve measurement and standards for the rapidly developing field of additive manufacturing (AM); and, furthermore, USD$2.4 million to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., to develop tools for process control and qualifying parts made by AM processes.
“Improving additive manufacturing is an important part of the administration’s efforts to help US manufacturers by supporting new opportunities to innovate,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. “The public-private research partnerships led by NAMII and Northern Illinois University are tackling important measurement science-related barriers that must be overcome before this cutting-edge technology can be more widely used, helping America remain innovative and globally competitive.”
Specifically, the grants announced recently will support NAMII’s three-part research plan to ensure quality parts are produced, and certified, for use within the increasingly large range of sectors that AM is penetrating. Plus, a mind on the key benefits of AM that include: speed of production by fast-forwarding the concept to production process; on-demand parts in remote locations – such as near battle-front scenarios, naval applications, troop food-supply logistics, remote bases, aerospace inclusive of even space-faring; greater customization; higher complexity; and less material waste.
The new projects aim to address current utility limitations via technical challenges for high-value products and applications that include: inadequate data on the properties of materials used; limited process control; lack of standardized machine performance tests; and limited modelling and design tools.
Northern Illinois University and its collaborators plan to develop a suite of integrated tools for process control and AM part qualification as described here.
As a non-regulatory agency of the US Department of Commerce, NIST promotes US innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security.
The competitively awarded two-year grants, were made through NIST’s Measurement Science for Advanced Manufacturing (MSAM) Cooperative Agreement Program.
NAMII, in Youngstown, Ohio, is operated by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining.