Excitement swirls around additive manufacturing as top industrial companies continue to pour significant dollars into R&D and other additive manufacturing initiatives. The investments in additive manufacturing are aimed at understanding the full capabilities of the technology and integrating additive manufacturing into their own product development and production processes.
United Technologies Corporation
United Technologies Cooperation (UTC) recently invested $115 million into its research center, with $75 million going towards the Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence. Pratt & Whitney, a UTC company, is excited for the investment as its aerospace business will enjoy many of the center’s benefits through prototyping and customized parts. The investment goal of the investment is to advance and speed up the adoption of additive manufacturing across UTC’s aircraft manufacturing business.
Jabil Circuit Inc.
Jabil Circuit, the third largest contract manufacturer, is also moving beyond traditional manufacturing processes and taking additive manufacturing to the next level. The circuit company has predominantly used additive manufacturing for rapid prototyping, but Jabil sees significant potential for additive manufacturing to have an impact on its future production operations.
In a recent interview, John Dulchinos explained why he believes additive manufacturing has a big future with Jabil, “Our interest in 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies started on the prototyping side at first, helping to go through faster design processes that allowed us to get products through the innovation phase faster”.
GKN Aerospace and Oak Ridge National Laboratory
A five-year agreement between GKN Aerospace and Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been signed to advance a specific additive manufacturing process. The merging teams plan to develop their additive manufacturing process in making large-scale titanium parts for aerospace.
The partnership is centered on GKN Aerospace’s additive manufacturing process which uses a robotic arm with a laser mounted on it that is fed metal wire. The process is called Laser Metal Deposition with wire (LMD-w) and has been developed at GKN’s Additive Manufacturing Center.
According to Josh Crews, the technology center manager for additive manufacturing, LMD-w “has the near-term potential to be used on large monolithic titanium components.”