Erie Company Wins Air Force Manufacturing Olympics
Elementum 3D, a developer and supplier of metal additive manufacturing materials, earned first place at the inaugural U.S. Air Force Advanced Manufacturing Olympics. The company won the event’s “Material Hurdles” technical challenge with its A7050-RAM2 high-strength aluminum alloy, beating eight other finalists.
Sixty-four teams participated in the competition, which was hosted by the USAF Rapid Sustainment Office. Each team completed five technical challenges judged by 25 experts from academia, the U.S. military, and aerospace and defense companies, the FAA, Ford and Amazon. Each team was required to accurately recreate 3D printed parts from an existing technical data package using innovative materials and techniques while demonstrating accuracy, skill, completeness, ease of use and speed of production.
The challenge saw teams compete to accurately recreate 3D printed parts in their own specialized material.
“We entered our A7050-RAM2 aluminum alloy to deliver on the AMO event’s initiative to obtain a material capable of being 3D printed into components for use in demanding Air Force conditions,” Dr. Jacob Nuechterlein, president and founder of Elementum 3D, said in a written statement.
The USAF is implementing additively manufactured aluminum alloys because they can be produced quickly and on-demand while reducing component weights and raw material requirements. Employing advanced manufacturing can also reduce sustainment costs, which currently make up 70% of the USAF budget.
Elementum 3D’s printable A7050-RAM2 feedstock supports these goals by allowing the USAF to 3D print components out of an aluminum material that is lightweight, high-strength, and offers both fatigue life and stress corrosion cracking resistance.