Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC) scientists and engineers are making critical advancements in the area of Metal Additive Manufacturing. With new technology comes the need for understanding new process qualifications and quality verification. As “state-of-the-art” continues to evolve, we’ve leveraged our partnerships to accelerate this learning process.
Through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), KCNSC is partnering with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and General Electric (GE), one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, to combine research efforts in the area of additive manufacturing (AM). Since KCNSC is focused on precision manufacturing, we bring advanced expertise and understanding of weapon production requirements to the partnership. KCNSC has been on the leading edge of research and development of AM, both metal and polymer, providing a unique position of confirming designs for production. KCNSC’s tolerances and requirements are also stricter than most manufacturing environments, so adapting AM to meet our needs improves the overall process. The success of the project will enhance the ability to safely and reliably manufacture products with complex designs.
“KCNSC understands the limits, environment and conditions necessary to replicate precision manufacturing, the same way, every time,” said Andy Deal, Lead Engineer. “We have the expertise to manufacture parts with correct shape, strength, durability, and functionality needed for insertion into a weapon system.”
Additive manufacturing also offers a unique balance between speed, adaptability, and design – making AM a very promising technique for new product development. The CRADA team will develop cutting-edge commercial AM machine technology to develop critical parts faster and confidently, improving the automation, reliability, and repeatability of Metal AM component production. The ultimate goal is to develop and implement an intelligent feed-forward (IFF) approach to process optimization resulting in minimizing defects, maximizing yield and ensuring the overall quality of Metal AM parts.
“Our scientists and engineers will jointly explore new capabilities for the next generation of AM machines,” Andy Myers, Technology Transfer Lead concluded. “The broader benefit will be that our lessons learned will extend well beyond the nuclear weapons program.”