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Speedy Composite Manufacturing

Licensed AMCM technology prints finished part in minutes, hastens pace for carbon-free mobility

Published: Monday, November 6, 2023 - 11:00

(ORNL: Oak Ridge, TN) -- An Oak Ridge National Laboratory-developed advanced manufacturing technology, AMCM, was recently licensed by Orbital Composites and enables the rapid production of composite-based components, which could accelerate the decarbonization of vehicles, airplanes, and drones.

Additive manufacturing compression molding, or AMCM, uses short-fiber-filled polymer and continuous fiber to print directly onto a mold with precise orientation to make parts such as propellor blades or battery boxes.

Compression molding then turns the print into an accurate finished piece. ORNL researchers proved AMCM significantly reduces time and cost by producing 100 parts in 5 hours with each piece taking less than 3 minutes to print.

“By combining the fiber control of additive with the low porosity of compression molding, we can enable the high-volume production of next-generation composites,” ORNL’s Vipin Kumar says. “The mobility and aerospace industries need these lightweight materials to improve the energy efficiency of their applications.”

ORNL collaborated with Orbital to develop AMCM on a robotic system. Additional collaborators included IACMI—The Composites Institute. The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) and took place in Energy’s manufacturing demonstration facility at ORNL.

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