MELD Manufacturing Corporation, inventors of Additive Friction Stir Deposition (AFSD) technology, has been announced as a finalist for the MIL AM 2024 Technical Achievement Award for 3D Printing Innovation. The prestigious award, presented at the Manufacturing Summit & Technology Showcase (MIL AM), honors the individuals, or groups, that have exemplified outstanding achievement in 3D printing in support of the Department of Defense (DOD) mission priorities.
MELD Manufacturing’s group nomination included the entire Jointless Hull team, including U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC), ASTRO America, Ingersoll Machine Tool, Siemens, and LIFT.
In 2023, Rock Island Arsenal, under the leadership of the GVSC, brought the world’s largest printer for metal parts of alloys from aluminum to steel online. A smaller companion version of the same additive and subtractive machine is housed at the SAE managed AMCC facility to encourage additional industrial use and partnership with the DOD. This collaborative effort aims to foster industrial partnerships and enhance the DOD’s capabilities.
The MELD process is a game-changer in the 3D printing landscape due to its solid-state nature, a distinctive feature that sets it apart from traditional fusion-based processes. Unlike methods that involve melting metal, MELD’s solid-state approach enables printing with alloys like 7075 and 2219 aluminum, crucial for industries prioritizing lightweight components such as aerospace. Additionally, MELD can produce parts in the widely used aluminum alloy 6061, eliminating the need for special powders or alloys.
One of the key advantages of MELD’s solid-state process is its safety. By utilizing standard off-the-shelf metal rods, the MELD printers eliminate the hazards associated with metal powders. The open-air printing capability allows MELD machines to economically produce very large parts, demonstrated when printing a record-breaking 10ft/3.05m diameter aluminum cylinder.
The U.S. Army has embraced the potential of MELD’s large-scale printing capabilities to expedite parts from the supply chain, enhance vehicle survivability, and explore emerging materials. This investment has opened avenues for research and development in materials not previously printable at this scale.
Astro America, a key supporter of this initiative, has provided project funding to the industry for the relevant use of the Army MELD printer. Industry giants like Boeing have already showcased parts manufactured using the Army MELD printer, illustrating the widespread impact and adoption of this revolutionary technology. The collaborative efforts span the entire AM ecosystem, from software tools and printers to parts, engineering, analysis, materials evaluation, and workforce development.
About MELD Manufacturing Corporation: MELD Manufacturing Corporation offers 3D printing and hybrid machines for printing metal components using the MELD process. The MELD process is a patented revolutionary solid-state technology for additive manufacturing of metal parts without melting the metal. The open-atmosphere MELD process is capable of printing large metal parts at a scale not yet seen in the metal additive market. MELD’s purpose is to disrupt the manufacturing and repair of metals, both on Earth and in space, by harnessing the power of 3D printing. With their award-winning, patented technology, MELD Manufacturing aims to deliver reliable equipment that enables printing in any metal, at any size, and at unsurpassed speed, while maintaining forged properties. By pushing the boundaries of additive manufacturing, MELD Manufacturing is dedicated to serving humanity and revolutionizing the way we create and repair metal components. For more information about MELD Manufacturing Corporation and the AFSD process, please visit www.meldmanufacturing.com.
The 8th Annual Military Additive Manufacturing Summit & Technology Showcase continues to be North America’s premiere military, aerospace, and defense 3D printing event featuring senior-level DOD acquisition priorities, international 3D printing initiatives, and innovative technological presentations on cutting-edge solutions being developed across the advanced manufacturing and 3D printing industry.
Each iteration, this preeminent event provides an opportunity for military, government, academia, and industry professionals alike to connect, collaborate, and develop a strategy toward implementing additive technologies to transform current capability and stay competitive across all warfighting domains. More information is available at https://www.militaryam.com.