Optomec, a private supplier of additive manufacturing systems, was awarded $4 million from America Makes.
The money will go toward the “Re-Born in the USA” project that will implement metal 3-D printing technology for the U.S. Air Force’s repair applications. This is the third America Makes project awarded to Optomec this year.
The company will lead a team of 23 partners for a two-term project, which represents $2.6 million in public funding and $1.4 million in private investment.
Others involved in the project are aerospace companies GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies Research Center and Rolls-Royce.
The goal of the project is to develop a set of best practices for implementing additive manufacturing methods using 3-D printing technology to repair aerospace metal components for the Air Force.
“Together, we will demonstrate the benefits of additive manufacturing over traditional welding techniques and enable a ‘repair, don’t replace’ approach to critical part sustainment for high-value aerospace components,” Richard Grylls, Optomec LENS general manager and a Re-Born in the USA project leader, said in a statement.
Additive manufacturing tends to be more expensive, but repairing rather than replacing aerospace components will lead to cost savings, said Scott Deutsch, manager, communications and special programs from America Makes. “This is exactly the model we’ve been following for more than a decade,” he said.