The Defense Manufacturing Conference (DMC) is a four-day gathering of top government and industry leaders and manufacturing subject matter experts. The 2016 conference agenda covered strategic directions and funding opportunities, as well as briefings on the latest innovations in support of defense manufacturing priorities. Plenary keynotes included “Challenges of Sustaining and Modernizing the DoD/Army”, a presentation from the commander of the US Army RDECOM, and several industry and executive panel discussions.
Advanced Composite Manufacturing was one of the main tracks for concurrent break-out sessions. The use of advanced composite materials (ACM) continues to grow in the aerospace and defense sectors, due to their high stiffness and low weight. Researchers in the ACM field focus on developing technologies and methods to improve product quality, reduce manufacturing cost, and provide reliable inspection. Break-out session presenters described advancements in composite structure and laser bond inspection, methods for reducing variability during production, and applications for composites in advanced aerospace programs. Some presentations also tied into other key conference themes, including the continued development of the Digital Twin concept and the use of Additive Manufacturing for composites tooling.
Laser-Assisted Consolidation of Composites
Dr. Jay Rozzi, principal engineer at Creare LLC, delivered a presentation entitled “Laser-Assisted Consolidation of High Performance Composites” with Paul Briney, a Senior Program Engineer at Albany Engineered Composites. Dr. Rozzi leads the Advanced Manufacturing business area at Creare, which has developed innovations in cryogenic machining, laser-assisted machining, and laser-assisted consolidation/curing of composites. While not a Department of Defense (DoD) parts supplier, Creare is recognized by both the DoD and the prime contractor community as a critical source of Advanced Manufacturing research and development.
Dr. Rozzi’s presentation summarized results of a recently concluded Phase III SBIR program for Creare’s Integrated Laser-Assisted Consolidation System (ILACS™). Albany Engineered Composites is Creare’s partner/end-user on the program. ILACS™ uses semiconductor laser diodes as a heat source to join carbon fiber composite prepreg tape. The laser-assisted consolidation system is compact in size and easily retrofits into existing fiber placement machines. The system provides a 38% decrease in cycle time resulting in lower operational costs.
Creare Recognized for Advanced Manufacturing Developments
The ILACS™ Program was nominated for a Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award.
In addition, Creare’s Cryogenic Machining ManTech program was highlighted at the conference as a key DoD ManTech Success. The Cryogenic Machining System directs liquid nitrogen cooling where it is needed most for the high performance machining of titanium. This novel system substantially reduces the temperature of the cutting tool, without unnecessarily cooling the titanium part being machined. The net result is dramatic improvement in processing speed, which significantly decreases processing costs.
This recognition is an outcome of Creare’s focus on developing and transitioning game-changing Advanced Manufacturing technology.