GE Additive has signed a five-year cooperative R&D agreement (CRADA) with the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) aimed at establishing AM process, materials and software that accelerate the industrialization and adoption of the manufacturing technology.
Though GE and ORNL have cooperated in the past (they signed a CRADA in 2012), the new agreement supersedes the existing one. The partners became linked after GE Additive acquired Arcam EBM, which had supplied its metal AM systems to ORNL since 2009.
The previous CRADA, signed by ORNL and GE Additive Arcam EBM focused on a few key areas, including improving the reliability of the EBM process with in-situ monitoring and closed loop control; opening the technology up to new materials systems (such as Nickel-based superalloys); and validating microstructure and properties of Ti-6Al-4V materials created with faster deposition rates.
The new agreement, however, will cover all of GE Additive’s technologies, materials and engineering services and aims to implement novel AM technologies into commercial products. These include expanding existing research into process simulation methodologies and in-situ monitoring and quality control for both EBM and DMLM systems; materials modeling and development, and industrialization and commercialization of equipment and processes.
“Our pioneering research with GE Additive was essential to resolving scientific challenges in advanced metals manufacturing using new electron beam methods,” commented Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for Energy and Environmental Sciences at ORNL. “We’re excited to again push the boundaries with GE and lower the barriers for widespread adoption of more efficient, low-cost manufacturing techniques.”
Daniel R. Simmons, Assistant Secretary for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, added: “By collaborating with industry partners such as GE Additive, DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory brings its multi-disciplinary expertise and capabilities to bear on real-world challenges and moves technologies into the marketplace where they will have the greatest economic impact.”
“We’re really looking forward to applying the collective brainpower and expertise from both organizations to addressing the challenges around industrialization, but we also have an eye on the future,” concluded Josh Mook, innovation leader at GE Additive. “The next wave of additive technology is already upon us – whether that’s binder jet or rapid advances in software – so, we’re excited to see where the next five years will take us.”