1/21/2016 | 1 MINUTE READ

Grant Will Establish Metal Additive Manufacturing Center

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The accelerator grant will help a consortium of Colorado manufacturers establish a metal AM center at the Colorado School of Mines.

A consortium headed by Manufacturer’s Edge has been awarded a $2.4 million infrastructure grant from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) as part of the office’s Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program. The funds will go toward building a 3D Metal Additive center to assist in metal 3D printing standardization and qualification for businesses.

Members of the consortium include Faustson Tool, Ball Aerospace, the Colorado School of Mines and Lockheed Martin. A research and development center will be built at Mines and be dedicated to performing applied research and creating database infrastructure to qualify printers and their parts. Mines will continue ongoing research with Faustson and Concept Laser on the first dual-laser 3D metal printer installed in the United States at Faustson’s facility in Arvada.

The 3D Metal Additive center will be a member-supported research center focused on understanding the characteristics and performance of 3D-printed metal alloys used in advanced manufacturing industries. OEDIT contributed $2.5 million of Advanced Industries Grant funds, while founding consortium members matched that with more than $5 million in matching funds, and contributed personnel and equipment resources to create the center at the Colorado School of Mines.

The first six months of activity will focus on building specified test parts at Lockheed Martin and Faustson, analyzing the characteristics of those parts at a microscopic level at the Colorado School of Mines, and analyzing the impact of the various manufacturing processes and conditions used to create the parts. This work will continue indefinitely, beyond the time frame of the grant, as the center will be a self-sustaining center of excellence for Colorado.

At the six-month mark, Manufacturer's Edge and the Colorado School of Mines will roll out initial membership details for companies wishing to participate in further research efforts and results. At that time, the center will expand its scope to include new alloys and manufacturing methods driven by the needs of Colorado manufacturers.

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