Additive Manufacturing

NOV 2018

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING is the magazine devoted to industrial applications of 3D printing and digital layering technology. We cover the promise and the challenges of this technology for making functional tooling and end-use production parts.

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Page 18 of 75

AM / AM Partnerships 17 In other words, he argued, the same qualification process that keeps planes from falling from the sky will, in a future that includes more and more aerospace parts produced additive- ly, make it much more difficult for new aircraft to leave the ground. Therefore, he said, as long as the microstructures of the material are identical, qualification processes should focus on the outcome, not the path it took to get there. If the qualification process is a major impediment to the deployment of additively produced parts, the challenge is to streamline the way in which we prove sufficient microstructure similarity to certifying agencies. This would require computa- tional methods not typical of other manufacturing processes. But, perhaps more significantly, it would also require partner- ships, notably between public and private sectors, to an extent other manufacturing challenges simply haven't required. As it turns out, Brice wasn't the only one who recognized this need. Processes < Outcomes In Colorado, one of the largest per-capita aerospace employers in the U.S., Faustson Tool is a highly regarded machine shop within the industry. Owner Alicia Svaldi and vice president Heidi Hostet- ter have helped Faustson Tool earn its reputation for precision machining capabilities and high-profile work, such as a key component in NASA's Kepler space telescope, as well as parts for the U.S. F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jet in conjunction with Ball Aerospace. The company added metal additive manufactur- ing capabilities to its shop floor back in 2014. Hostetter in particular is well known in Colorado for her politi- cal acumen for advancing AM—a sort of Rocky Mountain evangelist for additive who crisscrosses the state, networking on behalf of Faustson as well as H2 Manufac- turing Solutions, her consulting service for advanced manufactur- ing. So in 2014 when Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper pushed forward infrastructure legislation to start an advanced industry accelerator branch fund, Hostetter seized the opportunity. The grant proposal stipulated that the accelerator would have to benefit the state's seven top industry sectors, and involve private industry and a nonprofit as well as an academic institution. Hostetter pitched her idea to compete for the grant to Dr. Aaron Stebner, an associate profes- sor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Colorado School of Mines, widely recognized as one of the top materials science schools in the country. "Around 2013, we had a lot of front range companies coming to School of Mines for help with metals additive," Stebner says. "Some of them had bought AM machines and didn't understand why they weren't getting the quality that the salesman promised. And it took us a while to figure out how to help them, because these weren't four- or five-year research projects. These were like, 'I need some data and an answer tomorrow' kind of proj- ects, which is not what a university usually does by default." As it turned out, Craig Brice was leaving NASA to re- join Lockheed Martin, this time in Colorado, when Stebner introduced him to Hostetter and her idea to create an additive accelerator program at Colorado School of Mines. "They took the idea and refined it into a data-driven center that could track numerous variables having to do with microstructures and material properties," Hostetter says. The group was able to secure commitments from Ball Aerospace, Lockheed Martin and Faustson, as well as the Colorado Manufacturers Extension Partnership program, Manufacturer's Edge, on the proposal. In December 2015, the group won the largest grant the state had ever awarded—$2.5 million—and the Alliance for the Key players in the formation of the ADAPT Center include Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (third from left), Faustson Tool vice president Heidi Hostetter (fourth from right), Dr. Aaron Stebner from the Colorado School of Mines (far left) and Craig Brice (third from right), formerly with NASA and Lockheed Martin.

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