ISE Makes

ISE recently played host to industry, academic and governmental leaders in the field of additive manufacturing for three days, bringing in world-renowned speakers and showcasing the new Laboratory for Additive Manufacturing and Logistics.

This event was a critical step in promoting the kind of innovative research in additive manufacturing that is being done at NC State and listening to industry needs. “The symposium and reception events gave us the opportunity to show visitors from industry, government and academia the capability of our new laboratories as well as display some of our ongoing research,” said Dr. Russell King, Fitts Distinguished Professor and Co-director of the Laboratory for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics. “Just as important, we were able to have detailed conversations about the kind of research that industry feels is important and what role that our group can play in solving these important problems.”

Additive manufacturing processes like 3-D printing make products by putting down successive layers of material rather than removing material away from a piece of stock. NC State researchers and students produce custom pieces that have been used in the veterinary and medical fields (See ISE Saves Sea Snapper by the Sea Shore, Page 16) and applications for additive manufacturing across multiple industries.

Along with a who’s who of industry, academic and governmental speakers, two world-renowned experts were keynote speakers for the symposium, which largely focused on challenges facing the defense/aerospace and medical industries in adopting additive manufacturing practices. Dr. Atala is the chair of the Department of Urology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) and a member of ISE’s advisory board (See ISE Advisory Board 2013, page 29). Atala’s keynote address touched on the many innovations taking place at WFIRM including the advantages they have had with growing organs and performing transplants. WFIRM is currently working on growing different types of organ cells and then testing those cells against different types of chemicals (poisons, chemical weapons, etc.). This gives more conclusive, real-time results versus using animals. Atala concluded his address by challenging others to push the boundaries of regenerative medicine.

Terry Wohlers, President of Wohlers Associates, Inc. and world renowned expert in additive manufacturing provided the other keynote address. His talk provided a global context for understanding the economic impact of 3D printing and needs of industry.

Another prominent speaker was ISE’s own Dr. Ola Harrysson (pictured right), Associate Professor, who addressed the issue of surface finishing on electron beam melted (EBM) parts. Today’s parts can be produced in 12 to 24 hours but have to then spend weeks being finished to customer’s specifications. Harrysson described the hybrid approach developed at NC State that uses a combination of CAD Modeling, EBM processing, 3D laser scanning and CRC-RP milling to complete the finishing process.

The aerospace and defense applications for Additive Manufacturing session featured a presentation by ISE’s own Tim Horn (pictured right), Research Scholar, who spoke about the limited number of metals available today for direct metal additive manufacturing processes and how the research group at NC State has been involved in the parameter development effort of new materials for over 10 years. They are developing a more analytical approach to speed up this time consuming task and to enable predictions of the achieved micro structures.

Over the years ISE researchers have been able to process a large number of materials into real functional parts using a focused electron beam to selectively melt and fuse together layers of metal; including high performance aerospace alloys such as Titanium-Aluminide and Inconel for jet engine compressor blades, high temperature GRCop-84 and C103 Niobium for rocket nozzles, shape memory Nitinol and even Lunar Regolith (moon dust).

Another prominent speaker Rob Gorham (pictured right) from America Works, formerly NAMII – National Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Institute, described its history and exciting new plans for the future. America Makes – established in Youngstown, Ohio, in August 2012 – is the pilot institute for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) which is a network of 15 research facilities in the US that will focus on developing and commercializing manufacturing technologies. This network in all part of a plan President Obama announced to revitalize the US manufacturing base. President Obama made reference to the institute during his 2013 State of the Union Address. ISE is excited to announce that a group of researchers from the ISE Department consisting of Dr. Ola Harrysson, Dr. Ron Aman, Dr. Harvey West, Tim Horn and several students have been selected to be part of an inaugural America Makes research team.

During the symposium participants were treated to tours of ISE’s Laboratory for Additive Manufacturing and Logistics. In addition to research the laboratory provides fabrication and prototyping services for NC State projects and outside customers along with testing services. During the open house, students provided demonstrations of the lab’s capabilities and information about their research projects.

Over 100 people attended the symposium and attendees included academics, along with representatives of companies that make additive manufacturing equipment and manufacturers that are using 3-D and additive processes.