FlexSpecs is a collaborative effort between the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) and is focused on developing methodology to demonstrate the airworthiness of an EOS M400-4 quad laser metal 3D printing system. The programme will look to qualify the powder bed fusion platform and develop baseline mechanical properties and design allowables before using the machine to make demonstration builds of heat exchangers and hypersonics-relevant parts. University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) is the prime contractor of the programme.
Senvol’s machine learning software, Senvol ML, has been integrated to support the development of process optimisation and analyse project data. The platform can help to predict mechanical performance from a set of process parameters, determine which parameters to use in order to achieve targets and learn from previous data sets.
“We’re thrilled to work with UDRI, AFRL and AFLCMC on this programme. Our machine learning software, Senvol ML, is well-suited to assist with AM qualification and this is a great example of that,” commented Senvol President Annie Wang. “In addition to helping to develop baseline mechanical properties and design allowables, the software will analyse data to evaluate laser-to-laser consistency, optimise bulk scan settings, identify preferred overlap patterns and parameters and confirm uniformity over the entire build plate.”
Jessica Orr, Programme Manager and Materials Engineering Team Leader for AM & Repair Technologies at UDRI added: “AM has recently demonstrated the ability to rapidly deliver complex geometries and production quality parts that are able to enhance the capabilities of Department of Defence (DoD) weapon systems. A major challenge facing the use of AM for producing DoD relevant end-use parts is that the number of available large-scale printers is likely to be limited for the next 5-10 years. In this collaborative programme we are developing and demonstrating methodology to use a new multi-laser AM printer to produce airworthy, end-use parts.”