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Wichita’s NIAR Purchases Metal AM System from RPM Innovations

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Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) has purchased a new professional grade, powder fed, metal additive manufacturing system. The RPM Innovations 222 Standard System is a professional-grade system with powder-fed laser metal deposition technology. It has a  2′ 3″ build capacity and a rotary table for cladding or building around a shaft.

The system, which was manufactured in the US, arrived last week, and will be ready to take on client jobs by late July after routine installation, calibration and technician training.

“Additive Manufacturing has advanced dramatically in the last decade and permeated into just about every business sector,” said Paul Jonas, NIAR director of special programs. The new RPMI system will enhance our capacity for prototyping, tool development and additive manufacturing research.”

NIAR performs industry-funded structural testing for additive manufacturing materials and parts, and works directly with multiple standards organizations in the development of guidelines to standardize the materials, processes and quality of additive manufactured parts.

Currently, NIAR is working with the FAA to develop the procedures and methodology necessary to include polymer additive manufactured materials in the NCAMP shared materials database. When completed in about a year, manufacturers will have the ability to obtain publicly available design allowables for polymer-based additive manufactured materials, making it more economical and efficient to use the materials for aerospace applications.

“This is a very powerful enabler since NCAMP materials are recognized by the FAA, ESASA and all branches of the US military,” said Jonas.

NIAR’s Additive Manufacturing Lab is home to multiple 3D printers including a BAAM (Big Area Additive Manufacturing) and additional capabilities ranging from simple prototypes to high-strength, high-temperature parts using fused deposition modeling (FDM), polyjet, direct laser metal sintering (DLMS) and full-color selective deposition lamination (SDL).

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