February 25, 2022, Prince George County, VA – The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) a $750,000 grant focused on enabling widespread and cost-effective use of metal additive manufacturing for military sustainment. Under this grant, CCAM will develop an integrated cyber-physical ecosystem to leverage digital thread and Industry 4.0 technologies for additive manufacturing in order to more efficiently develop, qualify, and deploy these new processes for component repair and replacement.
Sustainment of military assets is a key component of force readiness and is critical to national security. U.S Senator Mark Warner said, “I am thrilled that the Office of Naval Research has awarded these funds to the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing to help address major gaps in our Navy’s manufacturing processes. This funding will allow CCAM to leverage new technologies, strengthening the defense supply chain and guaranteeing the readiness of our fleets.”
Many major defense assets are aging, from ship components to aircraft engines, and the costs associated with repair and replacement of parts are correspondingly very high. “I’m glad to see these federal funds go toward cost-effective, new technologies that will optimize the efficacy of Virginia’s defense manufacturing processes,” said Senator Tim Kaine. “This grant will help the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing address supply chain challenges and develop new tools to support our national security.”
Significant challenges exist within the defense supply chain, creating barriers to timely and cost-effective manufacturing of quality parts when and where they are needed.
While modern additive manufacturing methods can produce near-net shape geometries to repair features or entire parts on-demand directly from digital models, they are often insufficient to meet all of a product’s design requirements. Advances in digital thread and Industry 4.0 concepts present opportunities to transform how manufacturing processes can be developed, connected, monitored, and reported, however these technologies have not yet been widely developed or matured. Gaps in existing standards, information models, and integration need to be filled to realize the possibilities.
“Bolstering our defense industrial base and our additive manufacturing capabilities is of paramount importance to our national security and integral to maintaining military readiness,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “The Office of Naval Research’s grant award will provide crucial federal funding to the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing to strengthen our defense supply chains and promote continued military innovation and advancement.”
The ONR – CCAM grant will fund initial development an integrated cyber-physical ecosystem to address critical technology limitations and enable effective development, validation, and deployment of additive manufacturing processes for part repair and replacement. CCAM will develop, build, and test a proof of concept Intelligent Additive Manufacturing Ecosystem at their research facility in Prince George County VA. Their research teams will integrate state of the art processes and digital thread technologies that bring together key technology elements focused on real-time quality assurance and process qualification. All testing will be informed by and validated using realistic defense and industry use cases.
“We are delighted CCAM has been selected for this award,” says CCAM’s Director of Research Matt Stremler. “By bringing new digital thread technologies together with advanced manufacturing processes like additive manufacturing, CCAM will demonstrate an ecosystem and technologies that enable the Navy to quickly transfer new manufacturing processes into their sustainment teams and their industrial supply chain. We believe that this approach presents a significant opportunity to greatly reduce costs, increase quality, and accelerate readiness for the fleet.”
The grant performance period will run until August 2024. For updates, visit: www.CCAM-VA.com