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11 Phase I Selections from the 07.2 Solicitation

(In Topic Number Order)
4D VALUE ADDED SOLUTIONS TEAM
1025 N. Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(414) 277-4550
Mr. Vito R. Gervasi
DLA 07-001      Awarded: 10/4/2007
Title:Advanced Technologies for Discrete-Parts Manufacturing
Abstract:Through efforts on an NSF-funded project, MSOE has demonstrated the ability to produce castings at a resolution and complexity finer than known metal casting processes. The project, “Design and Fabrication of Components with Optimized Lattice Microstructures,” began in 2002 with initial efforts focused upon what casting processes were available and what would be required to produce complex lattice structures; this effort led to a stringent list of requirements. As a result of this effort a new metal casting process has been developed; Compressed Mold Pressure (CMP) Casting process, when combined with Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) works extraordinarily well for producing complex castings and is expected to provide significant benefits for foundries and DLA interests in advanced investment casting in the future. The Hybrid combination of these two processes, CMP-Hybrid, has much unexplored capacity to achieve multiple desirable targets not obtainable by existing technology. This is attributable to the processing method which leads to unparalleled isostatic compressive mold stress during casting. During this project CMP-Hybrid will be adapted to the standard investment casting foundry and casting of nickel alloys above and slightly below liquidus temperatures will be conducted.

BUYCASTINGS.COM, INC.
Suite 101 3155 Research Blvd.
Kettering, OH 45420
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(937) 259-1341
Mr. Bob Dzugan
DLA 07-001      Awarded: 11/6/2007
Title:Reduced Costs and Lead-times for Discrete-Parts Manufacturing Of Cast Metal Components Using Innovative Tooling Techniques And Advanced Pattern Materials
Abstract:Castings are used in 90% of all manufactured goods and in all manufacturing machinery according to the American Foundry Society (AFS). The metal casting industry is essential to the national defense of our country. Approximately 10% of all castings shipments ($35B in 2006 according to AFS) are produced soley for military applications. These include tanks, planes, ships, weapons and a myriad of other military hardware which contain thousands of cast parts. When the tooling required to produce an item is not available, it must be manufactured, extending production lead time and increasing the cost of procurement significantly. To reduce unit costs of discrete-parts manufacturing, we propose new tooling techniques combined with a brand new pattern material known as FOPAT (a FOam PATtern) designed for cast metal components. The proposed lower cost tooling materials are enabled as a result of this recent breakthrough in replacement of wax patterns, which are traditionally used in production of investment castings. The machined aluminum tooling required for injection of wax patterns is generally very expensive and time consuming to produce. The proposed technology has the potential of reducing costs to one-sixth and lead-times to one-tenth that of the current figures for the investment cast components.

CLEAR ALIGN LLC
2550 Boulevard of the Generals Suite 280
Eagleville, PA 19403
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(484) 956-0510
Dr. Daniel H. Raguin
DLA 07-001      Awarded: 12/3/2007
Title:Nanocrystalline Inorganic Powder Molding
Abstract:The proposed Phase I development program is geared towards the production of low- cost optical components through a novel manufacturing process called Nanocrystalline Powder Molding (NPM). Military infrared imaging systems are required in the MWIR and LWIR for the purposes of surveillance and target acquisition. As these systems become more and more critical in the battlefield as well as in the commercial sector, it is critical that new manufacturing technologies be developed that can reduce the cost of the optical systems. Currently most MWIR and LWIR imaging systems incorporate lenses with aspheric surfaces that must be diamond turned. Diamond-turning is significantly more expensive than conventional grinding and polishing processes and so can be a large cost driver for IR imaging systems. The proposed molding process uses materials that unlike chalcogenide glasses are non-toxic, inexpensive, and can transmit from the visible through to the VLWIR spectral regions. A redesign of an optical system to remove aspheric surfaces from germanium and other materials and to place those aspheric surfaces on a lens that can be manufactured using NPM promises to reduce optical fabrication costs by 2 to 8X.

ELCON, INC.
1009 Timothy Drive
San Jose, CA 95133
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(408) 292-7800
Mr. Anthony Barroco
DLA 07-001      Awarded: 11/15/2008
Title:Advanced Technologies for Discrete-Parts Manufacturing
Abstract:Little manufacturing development has taken place in thermionic cathodes since the mid 1980s; current research efforts are focused on miniaturization of cathodes and an alternate technology, field emission, or cold, cathodes. With the exception of electron guns for commercial CRTs, there has been no concerted effort in standardization, volume manufacturing, or component price reduction. Elcon’s ultimate objective is to create a low- cost thermionic cathode manufacturing process to reduce component costs by fifty percent while meeting or exceeding the emission characteristics and lifetime of the best performing cathodes used in the vacuum electronics industry today. The phase I objective is successful manufacture of tri-layer structure using tape techniques and a model representing the R&D and commercial costs of manufacturing.

ELKA PRECISION, LLC
124 Pennsylvania Avenue
New Britain, CT 06052
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(203) 526-1674
Dr. LEONID KASHCHENEVSKY
DLA 07-001      Awarded: 12/18/2007
Title:ULTRA HIGH SPEED AND PRECISION HYDROSTATIC GRINDING SPINDLE WITH AXIAL OSCILLATION OF THE ROTATING SHAFT
Abstract:We propose to develop an ultra-high speed hydrostatic spindle with maximum speed of 120,000rpm and combine it with high frequency axial oscillations of about few kilohertz. Ultra-high speed hydrostatic spindle for internal grinding with axial oscillations of rotating shaft effectively combines advantages of hydrostatic spindles with the unique technological potential of high frequency axial oscillations to grind high precision parts made of materials that cannot be ground using conventional grinding process. This technique will also improve significantly productivity and surface quality of machined parts made from other materials as well. Such device was never built before and would represent a quantum leap over an existing technology.

IMAGINESTICS, LLC
1801 Kalberer Road, Suite A100
West Lafayette, IN 47906
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(765) 464-1700
Mr. Nainesh Rathod
DLA 07-001      Awarded: 11/8/2007
Title:Advanced Technologies for Discrete-Parts Manufacturing
Abstract:Defense Procurement/Maintenance agencies are facing growing challenge of maintaining aging Warfighter Systems and ensuring mission readiness for global commitments, while reducing procurement costs of discrete-parts. One key hindrance to ensuring readiness is discrete part procurement. When procuring parts, tech data package which is provided to the suppliers during pre and post-award contains raster drawings. Several suppliers do not provide bids because information in raster drawings is almost unreadable. Furthermore, it requires them to expend considerable time to develop 3D models from these drawings, which raises procurement costs. For this reason, suppliers are not motivated to consider new technologies or alternatives that could potentially lower cost as opposed to conventional processes. Imaginestics proposes research and commercialization in 1) Development of automated system to convert geometry from raster drawings to 3D CAD model 2) Extraction of manufacturing related attributes from raster document and using converted 3D model to search for similar parts to learn alternative manufacturing processes used, relative cost range and complexity factors 3) Development of part/product universal modeling language to capture and relate manufacturing domain knowledge According to DLA’s internal survey, commercialization and deployment of above proposed R&D will reduce procurement cost of each discrete part by almost 27%.

LITHCHEM INTERNATIONAL
1830 Columbia Avenue
Folcroft, PA 19032
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(610) 522-5960
Mr. Joseph Kejha
DLA 07-001      Awarded: 9/20/2007
Title:Advanced Low Cost Automated Manufacturing Technology for Prismatic Lithium Battery Cells (Discrete-Parts)
Abstract:LithChem has designed an innovative low cost continuous automated manufacturing process for making prismatic lithium battery cells, the main cost (discrete-part) for lithium batteries. The process consists of three key pieces of innovative equipment: 1) a novel coater for continuously coating the electrodes which has been built; 2) a continuous automated assembly machine for combined cutting, welding and stacking the cells which has been designed and the unit steps demonstrated at the bench scale; and 3) semi- automated hard packaging, filling, and sealing of cells which has also been demonstrated at the bench scale. This versatile process will produce either rechargeable (lithium-ion) or non-rechargeable (primary) lithium battery prismatic cells in a wide range of sizes and capacities by minor equipment adjustments. The prototype prismatic cells made by this process have the maximum energy density and cycle life for lithium cells/batteries. Labor has been reduced and the capital cost is dramatically lower than current Japanese equipment for making cylindrical cells. In Phase I, LithChem will perform the cost analysis for make/buy decisions on the remaining equipment, and verify the expected low manufacturing costs (<$0.40/Wh) for DLA and DOD customers. This all-American automated manufacturing line will be built and demonstrated in Phase II.

MATERIALS INNOVATION TECHNOLOGIES, LLC
320 Rutledge Road
Fletcher, NC 28732
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(828) 651-9646
Dr. Mark Janney
DLA 07-001      Awarded: 11/8/2007
Title:Advanced Technologies for Discrete-Parts Manufacturing
Abstract:Polymer matrix composites (PMCs) are a class of materials with great utility. Substitution of existing metallic parts by PMCs can result in weight reduction, part consolidation, elimination of corrosion, and improved performance. Materials Innovation Technologies LLC (MIT-LLC) is developing a method for making PMC fiber preforms that has the potential to revolutionize the industry. The Three Dimensional Engineered Preform (3-DEP) process, represents the state-of-the art in chopped fiber preform manufacture. 3-DEP produces a homogeneous fiber distribution within parts and consistent part weight and dimensions from part-to-part. We propose to identify classes of discrete components that will lend themselves to manufacture by the 3-DEP process and that will benefit from the following features: Reduced raw material costs Reduced scrap because of 3-DEP's net-shape forming capability Reduced total costs because of greatly reduced cycle times Reduced labor because of automation Improved quality Greatly enhanced ability to customize component properties such as combining lightweight materials (carbon fiber) with superior ballistic characteristics (aramid fibers). 3-DEP brings to materials forming an exciting, innovative, never-before-seen process that will radically change the way advanced material composites are formed. It will allow DLA to exceed its goals of reducing manufacturing costs while improving characteristics of components.

MODUMETAL, LLC
1443 N. Northlake Way Suite 2B
Seattle, WA 98103
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(206) 632-0713
Ms. Christina Lomasney
DLA 07-001      Awarded: 10/11/2007
Title:Advanced Technologies for Discrete-Parts Manufacturing
Abstract:The purpose of this SBIR effort is to develop an innovative method for the production of discrete parts. Specifically, this Phase I effort will demonstrate the low-cost production of monolithic parts of various scale using net-shape manufacturing techniques that are well suited for both low and high rate production. This innovative method will enable the production of lightweight, monolithic structures that can be systematically designed to meet specific structural and ballistic survivability requirements.

NANOHMICS, INC.
6201 East Oltorf St. Suite 400
Austin, TX 78741
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(512) 389-9990
Dr. Mike Durrett
DLA 07-001      Awarded: 9/14/2007
Title:Laser Assisted Machining with Integrated Dynamic Tooling
Abstract:Ceramics materials have great potential in a wide variety of applications but their use is often limited by the associated high cost of machining. To alleviate this Nanohmics Inc. and Dr. Y. C. Shin of Purdue University propose to apply the recently developed technique of laser assisted machining (LAM) coupled with a specially designed dynamic tooling system to develop a means of easily, rapidly and cost effectively machining complex Zirconia and/or Silicon Nitride parts. Dr. Shin has been leading the commercial development of LAM and has pioneered processing methodologies for these materials as well as several others. Typically each ceramic requires different machining parameters but under the proper conditions these materials can be machined very rapidly (in some cases faster than steel) with no thermal damage and no chipping or other common machining related damage. LAM is dramatically different than standard ceramic machining processes. From a cost perspective machining time is drastically cut, tool wear is minimized and the number of scrapped parts is greatly decreased. Initial capital costs are reasonable and maintenance costs minimal. Amortization of the capital cost over the quite long lifetime of the laser will add little to the cost/part.

THIRD WAVE SYSTEMS, INC.
7900 West 78th St. Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55439
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(734) 340-3563
Dr. David A. Stephenson
DLA 07-001      Awarded: 11/20/2007
Title:Advanced Technologies for Discrete-Parts Manufacturing
Abstract:Modern airframes require thousands of drilled holes in difficult materials such as graphite- epoxy composites, titanium, or layered metal-composite assemblies. Drill life and hole quality are often limited when drilling composites due to heat buildup. Drilling composite/metallic stackups often requires costly interlayer deburring due to rapid drill wear. Trial-and-error approaches to improving drilling processes do not yield optimum results due to cost and time limitations. In this project, analytical and numerical methods for designing composite and composite-metal stackup drilling processes, which will permit rapid investigation of a broader range of conditions, will be developed and validated. A finite element program specifically written for machining will be used with brittle fracture constitutive descriptions appropriate for composites. In Phase I, the feasibility of the approach will be established by developing a first stage, homogeneous constitutive description of fiber-epoxy composite, suitable for calculating bulk temperatures and stresses and for evaluating drill wear. Algorithms for assessing drill life based on computed temperatures and stresses will be developed and validated against drill life tests. A pilot process at an airframe plant will be used for further validation; a 100 percent increase in drill life will be targeted for this application application.