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U.S. Air Force to host inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Olympics

Four-day event will run from October 20 to 23, 2020

From October 20th to 23rd, 2020, the U.S. Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO) will be hosting the first ever Advanced Manufacturing Olympics (AMO). While there won’t be any 10-meter diving at the four-day event, there will be a ton of AM and other advanced manufacturing on display. Registration for the free event is now open.

The Advanced Manufacturing Olympics will consist of a virtual event that will bring together experts from industry, academia and government to highlight and explore how advanced manufacturing can be used in the Air Force and across the Department of Defense. The event will give a platform to a number of speakers, including U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett; Sebastain Thrun, Google-X co-founder and chairman of Udacity; NASA astronaut Mae Jemison; and Brad Keselowski, NASCAR driver and founder of Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing (KAM).

Advanced Manufacturing Olympics Air Force

The event will also include five Technical Challenges, each of which will feature additive manufacturing and reverse engineering. These challenges will aim to solve some of the Air Force’s most pressing sustainment issues. They are:

  • TDP Relay: participants are tasked with accurately recreating a 3D printed part from an existing Technical Data Package using innovative techniques.
  • Box of Parts Floor Exercise: teams are tasked with demonstrating how 3D scanning and printing technology can be used to accurately reengineer a part without an existing plan.
  • Material Hurdles: participants are tasked with identifying and demonstrating new aluminum materials that will further the AM industry.
  • Supply Chain Marathon: participants are to leverage advanced manufacturing concepts and Supply Chain Management (SCM) to propose a basing strategy suitable for the most “warfighter requirements”.
  • Approval Sprints: teams must identify innovative strategies for rapid design, qualification and deployment of sustainment solutions that leverage new materials and processes.

Like the actual Olympics, each challenge will award a gold, silver and bronze prize, worth $100,000, $50,000 and $40,000, respectively.

Origin, nTopology team up for Advanced Manufacturing Olympics

Advanced Manufacturing Olympics Air Force

3D printing company Origin today revealed it has been selected to participate in the inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Olympics, competing in the Approval Sprints Technical Challenge. Origin’s team comprises its own engineers, as well as engineering software developer nTopology and consulting engineering company Stress Engineering Services. Together, they will design, analyze and deliver production-grade 3D printed USAF flight components, a technical data package and an accelerated qualification strategy for approval of materials, machines and family of components.

“There is a pressing need to rapidly deploy engineering solutions for US Air Force fleet and infrastructure sustainment,” commented Ian Muceus, Director of Government Programs at Origin. “We are excited to be one of the companies selected to participate in this challenge and use our advanced additive manufacturing technology to help with these obsolescence and sustainment challenges by identifying innovative strategies for rapidly designing, qualifying and deploying solutions that leverage new manufacturing processes, materials, and components.”

Advanced Manufacturing Olympics Air Force

The Approval Sprints Technical Challenge specifically consists of developing an F-16 hydraulic line clamp, a part that is used across the Air Force’s fleet and which requires a high degree of customization. Origin has already tested a number of different materials for the application in question, as well as printed test fixtures and explored multi-material printing. The final part, which will “compete” in the AMO, was designed using nTop Platform, 3D printed using the Origin One 3D printer and Henkel’s Loctite 3955 flame-retardant material, and validated by Stress Engineering Services through a series of tests (seen above).

The winning component design, which must meet the minimum specified requirements, will be eligible for installation aboard an F-16 and will go on a one-time flight during the Additive Manufacturing Olympics. Be sure to tune in to the virtual event to see the highly anticipated challenge results!

Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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