GE Additive, NIAR drive metal additive adoption
GE Additive

GE Additive, NIAR drive metal additive adoption

GE Additive and Wichita State’s National Institute for Aviation Research team up to accelerate metal additive technology for rapid Department of Defense implementation.

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November 22, 2021

GE Additive and Wichita State University’s (WSU) National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding as the cornerstone of a new collaborative effort aimed at supporting the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) accelerated adoption of metal additive manufacturing (AM) technology.

Additive manufacturing technology within the commercial and military aerospace and defense sector has grown significantly over the past decade, and in that time, GE and Wichita State’s NIAR have worked closely with the DOD, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and other stakeholders to accelerate safe adoption of AM for high criticality applications.

The partnership will accelerate metal additive adoption within the military aerospace and defense industrial base by advocating for common practices, rapid qualification and certification, and the development of a shared database for additive manufacturing data and knowledge.

GE Additive is a world leader in additive technology, materials science, materials manufacturing, component design, and aerospace qualification. NIAR brings world leadership in aerospace applied research, materials testing and qualification, digital twin, and structural testing and certification. Both parties have been recognized by the DOD as industry leaders: NIAR in developing digital twins of various aging vehicles; and GE Additive in providing metal additive technology to print out-of-production and obsolete spare parts from digital twin data.

“NIAR’s material database capabilities are an important asset needed to build a comprehensive, secure, accessible, standard format for materials data that all depots can use,” said David Handler, general manager – government business at GE Additive.

GE Additive and NIAR aim to establish an industry platform that is flexible enough to be used across all branches of the DOD.

“The partnership will accelerate the DOD’s desire to go from old metal to digital and then supply needed spare parts by going from digital back to new metal,” Handler added.

Development of the database will also involve the implementation of students in an applied learning capacity, providing a unique new workforce that understands the intricacies of additive manufacturing qualification and implementation.

To be an efficient and relevant resource, GE Additive and NIAR plan to move quickly. The partnership and involvement of student employees will allow the team to rapidly develop specifications to convert metal to digital and digital to metal – part by part.

GE Additive includes additive machine brands Concept Laser and Arcam EBM, along with additive powder supplier AP&C.

Established in 1985, NIAR has a +$190 million annual budget; 975 employees and nearly 1.6 million square feet of laboratory and office space in six locations across the city of Wichita, Kansas.