The National Center for Defense of Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) and America Makes have announced a new directed project call funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) worth a total of $3.2M.
The objective of the “Demonstration of Novel Methods for Effective AM Process Qualification/Re-Qualification – Delta Qualification (Delta Qual)” project call is to establish a qualified AM process, rapidly and affordably, allowing for changes in key AM process, post-processing, and/or material feedstock variables while efficiently validating a qualified AM material through statistical analysis.
Qualification of AM machines and materials is a major barrier to the broad adoption of AM. Generating the requisite data and models requires substantial resources to produce statistically significant data and perform testing and analysis of the resulting data. This greatly inhibits the agility of the AM processes to respond to changes in the technology or the supply chain base, requiring a total requalification that can be extremely costly and time-consuming.
The proposed projects should be applicable to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4-7 and Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) 4-7 at the onset of the proposed project.
NCDMM and AFRL anticipate funding up to seven awards in three major areas of Delta Qual, however, the combination and number of awards per topic are not fixed.
- Topic 1: Major Delta Qualification Demonstration (up to two awards, not to exceed $700K)
- Topic 2: Minor Delta Qualification Demonstration (up to four awards, not to exceed $350K)
Responses to Topics 1 and 2 should seek to make a single change to the baseline process and employ advanced numerical, analytical, and experimental methodologies to accelerate and reduce the cost of establishing equivalence to the baseline. The goal is to achieve at least a minimum of equivalence to the performance of the baseline material. Responses to both topics are limited to Ti-6Al-4V grade 5 powder bed fusion.
- Topic 3: The Red Team (one award anticipated, not to exceed $400K)
Responses to Topic 3 will outline an approach that includes a metal AM process-specific team to serve as subject matter experts to collect and harmonize AM standards and provide a map as to how Standard Organizations can include useful language for updating AM Process Qualification.
“This project call is designed to provide America Makes and our stakeholders with a framework of qualification methods and data points that enable new technologies, solutions, and processing standards to be rapidly qualified for use within the nation’s additive manufacturing supply chain,” states Brandon Ribic, Technology Director, America Makes. “To remain competitive, the AM industry must quickly adapt to the needs of the warfighter and other commercial users that are often confronted with excessive costs and years to qualify minor changes in their AM processes. Delta Qual is a very important step to provide foundational information for the industrialization of AM technologies.”
Project call timeline:
Launch: Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Kickoff Webinar: Wednesday, April 19, 2 p.m. (ET). Registration required
Eligibility: Lead proposer must be a current member of America Makes.
Submission Deadline: Monday, May 22, 2023
Anticipated Awards Announcement: Friday, June 23, 2023
For more details and guidelines, visit HERE.