February 20, 2012
A program proposed by the Applied Research Laboratory of the Pennsylvania State University (ARL Penn State) and Sciaky Inc., a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries (PSI), to establish the Center for Innovative Metal Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D) has been selected for funding by the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA). The center will serve as a manufacturing demonstration facility for direct digital manufacturing (DDM) technology under DARPA's Open Manufacturing initiative.
Direct digital deposition or DDM encompasses formative manufacturing processes by which parts are produced from stock materials in an additive manner, directly from a digital representation of the part, such as a CAD file or point cloud. DDM processes are suitable for on-demand production of complex metal components, while minimizing material waste and compressing the design-to-production cycle. Because the process is additive, it allows designs not possible with conventional techniques, such as creating complex internal features and varying materials.
Resources within the center will include systems for laser and electron beam-based deposition technology, along with design, simulation, and characterization capabilities. The mission of the center as a manufacturing demonstration facility will be to advance and deploy DDM technology for highly engineered and critical metallic systems to the Department of Defense and U.S. industry. The center also has partnered with Penn State faculty in materials science and engineering, industrial and manufacturing engineering, and mechanical engineering to develop educational materials to expose graduate and undergraduate students to DDM capabilities and foster workforce development for DDM technology.