This project seeks to demonstrate advanced manufacturing technologies to the Air Force for developing sustainment solutions for legacy aircraft.
With an average life of 27 years, legacy aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force (AF) require critical parts that may be out of production due to manufacturing obsolescence, cost to create, low quantity requirements, poor documentation, or other issues. The Air Force needs to develop the expertise to apply additive manufacturing and other emerging advanced technologies for continued, effective maintenance and sustainment of legacy aircraft.
The goal of this project is to enhance AF sustainment operations through the development, demonstration, and transition of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies by (1) baselining the use of AM and related advanced manufacturing techniques in the sustainment community, especially regarding tooling applications, in order to assess best practices for the use of AM for sustainment; (2) recommending transition of best practices to the AF Air Logistics Centers (ALCs); and (3) demonstrating the benefits gained from an AM based approach.
The technical approach is focused on improving the supply chain through organic growth of AM and related advanced manufacturing capabilities at the ALCs and OEMs. The team plans to establish a reference library of successful implementations of AM for sustainment, evaluate their ROIs, identify the needs and technology gaps, develop and demonstrate solutions for the gaps, build the required infrastructure for implementation, and execute sustainment support.
Other Project Participants
- Youngstown State University
- Case Western Reserve University
- Penn State Univ
- Univ of Northern Iowa
- GE Aviation
- Youngstown Business Incubator
- Humtown Products
- SLICE Mfg.
- M-7 Technologies
- U.S. Department of Defense
- National Science Foundation
- U.S. Department of Energy