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Dyndrite awarded $1.3M from America Makes to improve LPBF OQ

Dyndrite and partners Siemens Energy and ASTM International were among three teams that won America Makes awards

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America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) have selected the winners of a project call for “Methods for Demonstrating Operational Qualification”, which has an overall award value of $2.9 million. Among the winners, Dyndrite, which has developed a GPU-accelerated computation engine for digital manufacturing, was awarded $1.3 million for its “Improving LPBF Operational Qualification (OQ) through Software Automation” project.

Solving LPBF OQ challenges

The Dyndrite-led project, which also brings on partners ASTM International and Siemens Energy, aims to develop commercial operational qualification solutions for laser powder bed fusion that are both efficient and automated. The current processes for qualifying metal AM are highly complex and largely reliant on manual labor and interventions, which leads to inconsistency and errors, long turnaround times and high costs. Existing OQ methods also tend to minimize production availability for LPBF machines, since the qualification process takes so long, involving multiple build cycles to determine basic material performance and to find the optimal parameters for a given part.

Moreover, current OQ for LPBF functions on the principle that once a set of parameters are validated on a specific machine for a specific geometry and material, the process and settings are locked in. This means that if any element of the process changes—such as a machine upgrade or design change—OQ must be re-executed. Dyndrite, Siemens Energy and ASTM International are working to solve the rigid practices and challenges that are currently holding OQ efficiency back for LPBF through the use of software automation.

Dyndrite America Makes award LPBF OQ

The project’s ultimate output will consist of a data-validated software toolkit that will enable Siemens Energy to automate the build creation process and reporting with room for machine variability thanks to parameterization across LPBF platforms. The partners expect the impacts of this OQ solution to be significant: build preparation times and costs are expected to be reduced by 50%.

Steve Walton, Head of Product at Dyndrite, said of the project and its partners: “Siemens Energy has already demonstrated the use of AM for critical applications, appreciates the costs and challenges associated with OQ, and also understands how Dyndrite and ASTM can contribute to reducing costs and increasing material performance. Together we are building tools that will lead to further applications innovation within Siemens Energy for the benefit of the AM industry.”

Other winning projects

In addition to the $1.3M awarded to Dyndrite and its project partners, America Makes also gave funding to two other projects submitted to its Methods for Demonstrating Operational Qualification call. The first project, led by the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University, is titled “Methods for Demonstrating Operational Qualification”. The second project, with the long but descriptive name: “Accelerate Control and Certification: Enhancing Laser PBF and Electron Beam PBF Operation Quality via Real-time Analytics, Technological Integration, and Experimental Platforms for a Resilient Supply Chain”, is led by Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station and brings on a number of partners, including Addiguru, Beehive Industries, LLC, EOS North America and the University of Michigan.

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