Phase3D, a Chicago-based startup focused on in-situ inspection for powder-based additive manufacturing (AM), has been awarded a two-year $1.25 million contract from the Air Force Research Lab to develop a quality inspection system for cold spray AM (CSAM). This new technology will be installed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.
CSAM has incredible potential to produce large parts and repair or reclad existing parts quickly for the Department of Defense (DoD). Today’s challenge with CSAM is gathering objective data on the part as it is being built. Phase3D’s work through this contract will provide high-quality, objective data on the process — critical to growing its use case, especially in the field.
Our flagship Fringe in-situ inspection system will be adapted to monitor CSAM deposits to ensure uniform material deposition. For advanced manufacturing to increase adoption and use cases, more repeatable, quantifiable, and objective data must be gathered for every workflow step. This contract will demonstrate a complete solution of in-situ monitoring for CSAM, which will help the technology grow.
The contract will build upon ongoing research by Phase3D and its research collaborators, including VRC Metals, a subcontractor for this project. The work will adapt Fringe, Phase3D’s structured light in-situ inspection technology for powder bed fusion and binder jetting to CSAM. This system will produce the same high-quality quantitative height maps for the metal powder deposited onto the substrate and an intuitive visualization platform for technicians and engineers.
The project aims to validate a working concept of structured light measurements on a CSAM system and demonstrate the complete solution for real-time quality monitoring to support recladding, repair, and reinforcement. This project will work to provide a basis for the creation of specifications and printing guidelines for CASM.