BURRELL TOWNSHIP — The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining was recipient of a Defense Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Achievement Award at the Defense Manufacturing Conference last week in Phoenix.
NCDMM was recognized in the category of “Readiness Improvement” for its additive manufacturing three-phase “Maturation of Advanced Manufacturing for Low-Cost Sustainment” research project, funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Manufacturing and Industrial Base Technology Division.
“We are incredibly honored,” said NCDMM CEO Dr. Dean L. Bartles. “The MAMLS program has been an extensive multi-year, multi-phase ongoing effort that will yield results that will have a tremendous impact on the strategic readiness of the U.S. Air Force.”
MAMLS is the largest additive manufacturing-focused effort on sustainment, maintenance and repair technologies ever organized. It is led by NCDMM’s Youngstown, Ohio-based national additive accelerator, America Makes.
America Makes in turn was the first of eight manufacturing innovation institutes established and managed by the U.S. Department of Defense as public-private partnerships.
It also is also a member of the Manufacturing USA network, which seeks to secure U.S. global leadership in advanced manufacturing.
Judging of the ManTech awards was done by the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel, including managers from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and Defense Logistics Agency, as well as an ex-officio representative from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
“There’s no question that the outcomes of the MAMLS projects will substantially increase the entire sustainment community’s understanding and use of additive manufacturing technologies,” Bartles said.
NCDMM officials said the goal of the MAMLS program is aimed at improving efficiency of the factory and/or Air Force Air Logistics Complexes for rapid part replacement for legacy and other aircraft.
They said sustainment poses a number of challenges to keeping aerospace systems ready and available, particularly as an Air Force aircraft has an average lifespan of approximately 27 years.
To help the Air Force maintain its fleet in a cost-efficient manner using additive manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing technologies, NCDMM said the three-phase MAMLS program has set out to:
• Develop and demonstrate advanced manufacturing technologies related to AM that improve rapid part replacement and maintenance for legacy aircraft
• Enable on-demand replacement of critically damaged or obsolete components that would not meet economic requirements of conventional supply chains
• Develop and demonstrate rapid fabrication of such shop tools as assembly aids, jigs, and fixtures for sustainment center utilization
• Identify technology gaps and workforce issues that need to be addressed and solved prior to effective implementation.
More information about NCDMM is available at www.ncdmm.org.