Heavy construction machinery is the focus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s latest advance in additive manufacturing research. With industry partners and university students, ORNL researchers are designing and producing the world’s first 3D printed excavator, a prototype that will leverage large-scale AM technologies and explore the feasibility of printing with metal alloys.
Increasing the size and speed of metal-based 3D printing techniques, using low-cost alloys like steel and aluminum, could create new industrial applications for additive manufacturing.
The excavator will be 3D printed using machines at the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL to create and assemble three components: the cab where the operator sits, the stick (a large hydraulically articulated arm) and a heat exchanger. The excavator’s stick will be fabricated using the newly installed Wolf System, a machine that uses a freeform technique in printing large-scale metal components. The heat exchanger will be printed on a Concept Laser machine that produces metal parts through a powder-bed-based laser melting process.
When 3D printing the excavator’s stick and heat exchanger, the team will further develop processes to improve material performance and printability and also validate models that will show how they can adapt to reduce residual stress and distortion.
“The beauty of a project of this size and scope is that it brings together many intelligent people to work on a number of challenges while accomplishing a common goal,” said Lonnie Love, who’s leading the 3D printed excavator project with ORNL’s Manufacturing Systems Research group. He expects the excavator to be printed, assembled and ready to be unveiled in only nine months.
3D printing an excavator for the first time is a learning experience for both seasoned researchers and the next generation of engineers.
A student engineering team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign won a design competition and recently visited the MDF to watch their cab design take shape on the Big Area Additive Manufacturing machine – the same system co-developed by ORNL and Cincinnati Incorporated that produced a replica Shelby Cobra sports car using carbon fiber-reinforced acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS, plastic.
“While hundreds of people, many of whom are students, visit the MDF each year, this is the first student group to watch their design 3D printed on one of our large-scale machines,” Love said. Additionally, Georgia Institute of Technology student Clayton Greer worked on the excavator’s stick as an ORNL intern.
“We’re also exposing them to the possibilities that additive manufacturing is affording industry that can help companies from so many different areas whether it’s automotive, construction or other applications yet to be discovered,” he added.
The completed excavator project, known as Project AME (Additive Manufactured Excavator), will be on display at IFPE and CONEXPO-CON/AGG in Las Vegas in March 2017. Plans are in the works to 3D print another excavator cab during a live demonstration at the event.
While 3D printing excavators, or any other construction vehicles, may not become common practice among manufacturers, Love said using AM to print low-volume, high-complexity components could benefit the construction industry by reducing production time and overall cost.
“Additive manufacturing can be used to print components on demand, which could potentially eliminate the need for mass storage, organization and transportation,” Love said.
The project was funded by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Advanced Manufacturing Office. AMO supports applied research, development and demonstration of new materials and processes for energy efficiency in manufacturing as well as platform technologies for the manufacturing of clean energy products. Visit ORNL’s Innovations in Manufacturing website for more information.
Key partners of Project AME include the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the National Fluid Power Association, the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power and the National Science Foundation.
UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the DOE’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.
Caption: The first-ever 3D printed excavator will include a cab designed by a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student engineering team and printed at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL using carbon fiber-reinforced ABS plastic.
Caption: ORNL’s Lonnie Love, far right, explains the potential impact of additive manufacturing research and development to a student engineering team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who toured DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL.
Caption: ORNL’s Lonnie Love hosted a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student engineering team who watched their award-winning excavator cab design being printed on the Big Area Additive Manufacturing system at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
(865) 576-9219; email@example.com
Sara Shoemaker | newswise
New concept for structural colors
18.05.2018 | Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg
Saarbrücken mathematicians study the cooling of heavy plate from Dillingen
17.05.2018 | Universität des Saarlandes
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology