Testing a Lower-Cost Method for Large Metal Part Additive Manufacturing
Company Name: Grid Logic, Inc.
Program Office: Advanced Manufacturing
Location: Auburn Hills, MI
Email: George Caravias, CEO; email@example.com
Award Amount: $300,000
Project Term: 12 months
Project Status: Active
Participating Lab(s): Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Additive manufacturing (AM), commonly referred to as 3D-printing, can reduce energy costs associated with melting and molding industrial parts, cut down on waste through precision manufacturing and enable more local industrial manufacturing that could cut down on transportation costs and associated emissions. However, the industrial adoption of AM is currently constrained in scale and application, limiting production to small, high cost components. As a result, industrial adoption of AM is in its infancy and many of the potential benefits have yet to be realized.
Grid Logic has developed large-area metal sintering technology, which can mold and shape metal through heat and pressure without bringing it all the way to its melting point. Meanwhile, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s polymer screw extrusion nozzle feed system can be used to rapidly deposit a large layer of material held together by the binder.
As part of this project, ORNL will identify a metallic powder feedstock that can be temporarily held together with a binder. The team will then use Grid Logic’s system to sinter the metallic powder and remove the binder. By repeating this process on a layer-by-layer basis, the team can demonstrate a path to rapidly and inexpensively fabricating large metallic parts, thus speeding Grid Logic’s path to commercialization.
PROJECT INNOVATION + ADVANTAGES
The integration of ORNL and Grid Logic proprietary technologies permits large amounts of metallic material to be deposited and sintered quickly, without build chamber limitations or thermal stress issues faced by other AM technologies. Grid Logic’s technology permits the binder to be removed from the part being fabricated on a layer-by-layer basis. Both technologies are based on lower cost capital items and do not have high operating costs, permitting production costs suitable for industrial AM applications.
Expanding the use of AM technology across industries can give businesses greater flexibility through lower-cost, on-demand manufacturing. Wider adoption of AM technology could also foster growth in local manufacturing.
AM technology can reduce waste by giving manufacturers greater precision, lowering demand for the fabrication of raw materials. Smaller, local manufacturing hubs may also reduce demand for long-haul shipping of industrial products, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants from the transportation sector.
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