DON’T MELT. MELD.™

MELD™ technology

The MELD™ technology enables additive manufacturing (AM) of metals. This patented process is unique because there is no melting of the metal. Because it can be scaled to manufacture very large parts, it will open up new possibilities for the use of AM at sizes never before seen. The MELD process is the first non-melt-based process to make metal and metallic parts at large scale. With a commercially available machine, users can do more than AM with multiple materials, in open atmosphere. Further, it yields properties that are near, at, or exceed wrought, at high deposition rates.

MELD machines offer a novel, environmentally friendly, scalable method to perform a range of solid-state deposition processes including coating of dissimilar materials, building 3D structures, creation of new alloys and customized compositions, repairing, and joining. All of this is possible with one machine that can process a broad spectrum of materials including, but not limited to, metals, composites, and their combinations. Materials used to date include magnesium, aluminum, aluminum silicon carbide, copper, copper metal matrix composites, magnesium, steel, ultra-high-strength steel, nickelbased super alloys, and titanium. MELD can also fabricate components or repairs using unweldable metals.

MELD machines can process a variety of raw material forms including solid bar, powder, granules, pellets, beads, flakes, and scrap pieces generated from subtractive operations. Tailored compositions and functional grading in deposited layers are possible using the multimaterial MELD feeding system. The MELD machine deposits the material by thermomechanical means; it causes a severe plastic deformation in the material and stays below the melting temperature at all times, creating refined grain structures. The MELD process eliminates issues usually associated with the melting and solidification steps in fusion-based AM processes that yield objects with compromised mechanical performance like hot cracks, pores, segregation and residual stresses. It also eliminates similar issues found in metal coating processes including porosity, significant oxide content, and poor bonding.

MELD machines can be operated in open atmosphere and overcome challenges related to the dimensions of the fabricated parts, where the size of the bed or the chamber dictates the dimensions of the final parts.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

Origami Steel Method

Rob Wendt, Origami Steel Inc., Hebron, NH USA

Origami Steel is a patented, cost-efficient structural steel fabrication technology that replaces hot rolled structural steel commodity products and profiles with hot rolled steel coil or plate that can be formed into virtually any shape. Origami structural steel elements are available in a much wider product selection that includes multiple sizes, shapes, steel grades, and lengths. Applications include structural steel, car/truck chassis and lightweight vehicles, sea walls and flood protection, and just-in-time delivery of buildings of all shapes and sizes.

For more information, visit here.


Augmented Associate: Wearable Embedded Sensors for Future Manual Assembly

Matthew Krugh, Clemson University, Greenville, SC USA

The Augmented Associate provides an inexpensive, non-intrusive confirmation of task success to assembly associates. It comprises a wearable sensor system that collects and measures multiple sensors and through sensor-fusion, predicts whether the assembly process was successful. This information is fed back to the associate and stored for future data-driven analytics of the manufacturing process. Currently, the system comprises two sound sensors (one near the thumb and forefinger and another near the shoulder), real-time clock, 9-axis IMU, flexible force sensors for the thumb and first three fingers, and integrated microcontroller.

For more information, visit here.


RollnCoat: Roll-to-Roll Hybrid Plasma Modular Coating System for High-Performance Thermal Control Films

Der-Jun Jan, Cheng-Chang Hsieh, Wen-Fa Tsai, Jin-Yu Wu, Ching-Pei Tseng, Chia-Cheng Lee, En-Shih Chen, Tzong-Daw Wu, Deng-Lain Lin,Jiun-Shen Chen, Ming-Chung Yang, Po-Wen Chen, Yung-Ching Liu, and Min-Chuan Wang, Institute of Nuclear Energy Research, Taoyuan, Taiwan

With a scalable, modularized, roll-to-roll mass production system design, RollnCoat helps reduce building energy consumption with high-performance, low-cost film products. To coat the metal oxide layer, arc plasma deposition replaces magnetron sputtering. Metal oxide plasma deposition can be performed across a much greater distance between plasma source and substrate, within 30 to 200 cm. A RollnCoat line costs about 20% that of a conventional line with comparable capacity.

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High Reynolds Number Nanofiber Production Technique

John Rawlins and Jinhee Kang, University of Waterloo, Canada

This new technique preserves manufacturability of conventional gas-assisted fiber production techniques but breaks their production scaling trend. The technique uses faster flows, rather than finer nozzles, to produce finer fibers. This allows for the use of unconventionally large polymer nozzles to effect limitless production scaling.

For more information, visit here.

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