3D Systems (DDD) announced today its role in a $1.3 million contract to design, build and test a cutting-edge aircraft heat exchanger to be manufactured using 3D printing. Led by Honeywell International, a world leader in heat exchanger production, this project will utilize 3DS' Direct Metal Printing (DMP) technology as well as the additive manufacturing and materials expertise of Penn State's Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D). Such qualified use of additive manufacturing will not only revolutionize jet engine manufacturing, but it will also open the technology to a multibillion-dollar heat exchanger market.
The project, set to commence in mid-2015, builds off another contract announced in February to enable wider adoption of 3DS' metal technologies within aerospace companies.
Administered by America Makes and funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), this contract underscores 3DS' technological leadership and proven defense/aerospace manufacturing track record.
"Additive manufacturing offers design freedoms that are simply not possible using traditional manufacturing process," John Wilczynski, America Makes Deputy Director of Technology Development. "The teaming by America Makes with industry leaders and researchers that possess substantial experience in heat exchangers and 3D printing will allow us to explore higher-performing and lower-cost conformal parts. As a result, both the Air Force and the defense industry are poised to benefit greatly from this directed project."
In addition, this effort accelerates validation of 3DS' manufacturing capability and provides America Makes members—including every major U.S. defense and aerospace company—with the hard data necessary to evaluate the technology. Further, it is expected that this project's results could accelerate validation of 3DS' manufacturing capability as a new component of Honeywell's supply chain.
"3DS' Direct Metal Printing technology is second-to-none," said Neal Orringer, Vice President of Alliances & Partnerships, 3DS. "This contract selection will allow our team to deliver to the Air Force innovative, high-performing heat exchangers, and will provide valuable data on part strength, pressure resistance and performance."