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Stratasys and ORNL partner to advance additive manufacturing

02 July 2012

3D printer maker Stratasys has announced a joint initiative with the US Department of Energy (DOE) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to develop fused deposition modelling (FDM) additive manufacturing for production use. The project aims to develop FDM additive manufacturing technology to make it a mainstream manufacturing process, targeting two objectives: in-process inspection and the development of a carbon fibre reinforced FDM feedstock.

“The research and development allows us to explore innovative ideas in next-generation materials and manufacturing technologies to help US industry,” says researcher Dr Lonnie Love, group leader for automation, robotics and manufacturing at ORNL. “The project with Stratasys will lead to commercialisation of new products that will ultimately make US manufacturing more competitive and energy efficient.” 

Beyond reducing energy use via lighter-weight transportation vehicles, the additive manufacturing or 3D printing process itself is more efficient than traditional subtractive manufacturing processes, such as machining parts or machining production tools and molds. 

“The additive process can reduce the energy impact of manufacturing,” says Stratasys VP of direct digital manufacturing Jeff DeGrange. “It reduces material consumption, waste streams, large investments into metal tooling, warehouse costs and transportation costs. You don’t have to bring in material just to machine 75 percent of it away as with traditional manufacturing. Additive manufacturing deposits material only where it’s needed to grow a part. The initiative with Oak Ridge presents a significant opportunity, particularly in the aerospace and automotive industries, to enable lightweight high performance products to reach the market quicker and at lower costs.”

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