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Hybrid manufacturing technology (the combination of additive and subtractive processes in the same machine) has the opportunity to greatly improve the performance and production of various types of tooling. The technology and equipment, however, are still relatively new and untested. There is a need to explore, develop, and quantify the capabilities of hybrid manufacturing in industry-relevant applications to exploit its many advantages.
The objective of this project is to develop and demonstrate the hardware and software tools required to fabricate and inspect tool and die components using a hybrid manufacturing process. Initial focus is on process development and material characterization, progressing to the creation of industry relevant sample test tooling. The project also seeks to explore the role of distortion modeling and in-process sensing in process planning and control. This is envisioned as a multi-phase project, with future years examining the use of hybrid processes to repair tooling.
The Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) is establishing a user advisory group to provide insight into tooling and repair needs, relevant test materials and geometries, and comparison metrics to current fabrication methods. Youngstown State University (YSU), Georgia Institute of Technology (GT), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (ORNL) are quantifying material properties and performance for both wire-fed (YSU, ORNL) and powder-fed (GT) hybrid directed energy deposition (DED) systems. ORNL and University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) are utilizing distortion modeling and in-situ geometry verification to optimize the build process. At least two different types of prototype tools are being constructed by YSU and ORNL using both additive only and hybrid methods. These tools are being provided to industry partners for real-world usage and evaluation.