AF ‘Olympics’ Seeks To Speed 3D Printing Capabilities

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WASHINGTON: Not a lot of money is at stake in the Air Force’s Advanced Manufacturing Olympics (AMO) competition in October, but the winners will secure ground-floor spots in the service’s high-priority drive to revolutionize aircraft maintenance.

Advanced manufacturing, including 3D printing, has the potential to “change the way we operate,” Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry, head of Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), explained in a webinar today to preview the AMO technical challenges being held virtually Oct. 20-23. “It will make our operations more efficient; it’ll give us opportunities we never had,” he added.

McMurry is also the PEO for the Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO) that is sponsoring the “olympics,” which originally were to be held in St. Louis at the same time as the pandemic-canceled Tokyo Summer Olympics. Air Force Research Laboratory as well as America Makes, one of DoD’s eight manufacturing innovation institutes, are supporting the AMO.

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Tyler Blumenthal

Tyler Blumenthal

Sales Manager, RPM Innovations, Inc.

Tyler’s message will key on blown powder Directed Energy Deposition (L-DED) for AM and repair and why this process is being realized by industry as one of the key pillars in printing thin wall part structures and large part envelope requirements.

Shawn Allan

Shawn Allan

Vice President, Lithoz America, LLC

Shawn will reveal how Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing (LCM) is producing high resolution, high performance technical ceramics that can serve a wide range of applications and structural materials, such as alumina, zirconia, and silicon nitride. He will also touch on how LCM has progressed into multi-material components incorporating ceramics and metals.

Jeff Lints

Jeff Lints

Founder/CEO, Fortius Metals, Inc.

Jeff’s presentation will focus on the advances in wire DED, including welding processes for wire DED (arc, laser, and e-beam), next-generation alloys for large format metal 3D printing, and use cases that can benefit from replacing large forgings, replacing large machined billets, and producing advanced tooling — enabling next generation designs.

Dr. Jacob Nuechterlein

President/Founder Elementum 3D

Dr. Jacob Nuechterlein is the founder and president of Elementum 3D in Erie, CO. He earned his Bachelor of Engineering, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy at the Colorado School of Mines. Jacob has been researching, teaching, or consulting on topics such as casting and powder metallurgy for the last 14 years. Elementum 3D’s work with powder bed laser additive manufacturing is based on these principles. In addition, is thesis work in thermodynamics and formation kinetics of metal matrix composites is directly related to all 3D printing processes.