Additive Manufacturing Research and Development

Stratonics current AM R&D projects encompass a diverse set of clients, incorporating various additive manufacturing systems. ThermaViz® Sensor Systems are also incorporated into additional projects on an independent basis.

Stratonics-Button-LDM additive manufacturing
Laser Metal Deposition

Optomec, RPM-Innovation

Stratonics-Button-DMLS additive manufacturing
Direct Metal Laser Sintering

EOS, 3D Systems, Concept Laser, Renishaw

Stratonics-Button-FDM additive manufacturing
Fused Deposition Modeling



A Multi-view Sensor Suite/Process Model-based Control System Office of Naval Research SBIR Phase I, II, Option I, Option II


LMD-DMLSThe feasibility of a multi-sensor/model based control system for AM processes was demonstrated. Prototype sensors and software were developed for measuring critical parameters and controlling thermal processing and the system was evaluated at the Applied Research Lab at Penn State University.

The successful development of AM thermal control prevents defects/flaws (porosity from cold processing) or inhomogeneous deposits (non-uniform microstructure). The innovation combines a multi-view thermal imaging sensor suite, finite element method (thermal/metallurgical) models and real-time software algorithms to control the AM process parameters. The imaging sensors provide thermal measurements in real-time by viewing the melt pool along the laser axis and by viewing the side of the deposit. A thermal status of the deposit was monitored and controlled by adjustment of process parameters to guide the AM process, achieving consistent and uniform microstructure. The thermal measurements were used as input to the FEM process model refinement to support intelligent process design.


DARPA Open Manufacturing Program


Stratonics-Button-DMLSDARPA created the Open Manufacturing program to lower the cost and speed the delivery of high-quality manufactured goods with predictable performance. It aims to do so by creating a manufacturing framework that captures factory-floor and materials processing variability and integrates probabilistic computational tools, informatics systems and rapid qualification approaches. These newly developed concepts and approaches will be used to characterize and reduce the risk of new manufacturing technologies. Military program  3d printing

Stratronics America Makes


Thermal Imaging for Process Monitoring and Control of Additive Manufacturing Processing through Direct Digital Deposition

Stratonics-Button-LDMLed by Penn State University, in partnership with several industry and university team members, this project will expand the use of thermal imaging for process monitoring and control of electron beam direct manufacturing (EBDM) and laser engineered net shaping (LENS) additive manufacturing processes. Improvements to the EBDM and LENS systems will enable 3D visualization of the measured global temperature field and real-time control of electron beam or laser power levels based on thermal image characteristics. These outcomes will enable the community to have greater confidence on part properties and quality using these technologies. 460 thermal imaging

Stratronics America Makes
Digital Threading of AM


LMD DMLS FDMLed by Boeing, in conjunction with Aerojet, Raytheon, ITI, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and Stratonics, Inc., the digital threading of AM project will enable an art-to-part integrated process and tools that reduce cost and cycle time by minimizing material deposition, component finishing processes, and the application of automation between process steps. This project will demonstrate the impact on processing costs, material lifecycle costs, quality control costs, labor costs, and energy requirement reductions by applying an industry unique and innovative combination of in-situ process monitoring capabilities that links data with the entire digital thread to improve information provided to the additive processes.

Data obtained during the additive process will also be used for further improvement by correlating non-destructive inspection results with design and process information. The results are sets of information that directly impact and monitor the key metrics and information that supports improved engineering and manufacturing engineering design for additive. Combined, the in-situ monitoring capability, and the linking and analysis of digital thread information will enable companies to reduce time to market and reduce overall lifecycle costs.  765-project

 Stratronics America Makes
Additive Manufacturing of Heat Exchangers for Propulsion Applications

Stratonics-Button-DMLSLed by United Technologies Research Center, in partnership with other United Technologies Corporation business units, United Technologies Aerospace Systems and Pratt & Whitney, and with Stratonics, 3DSIM, and the University of Connecticut, this project team seeks to rapidly advance the Manufacturing Readiness Level of Laser Powder Bed Fusion HEX components in propulsion applications. The goal of this project is to address the fundamental risks/gaps in AM processes, including in-situ defect detection, non-destructive inspection, and thin-fin manufacturing capability; establish a quantitative link between key product characteristics and the manufacturing process parameters required for repeatable and reliable fabrication; and demonstrate an AM HEX and value proposition relevant to the Department of Defense and AFRL.    721 America awardees

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In-Situ Thermal Inspection System for Additive Manufacturing  Defense Logistics Agency SBIR Phase I

Stratonics-Button-LDMABSTRACT: This effort develops and demonstrates in-situ thermal inspection methods for AM processes relevant to discrete-part production and repair.  Design and implementation of a multi-sensor thermal imaging and analysis technology can be expected to provide close-to-real-time feedback to AM process users such that go/no-go decisions can be effected, post-process evaluation steps can be made selectable, and unit-cost for discrete-parts produced via AM methods can be reduced.  The effort provides an assessment of existing data collected during multiple AM processes and includes a demonstration showing the difference in key process metrics for successful and defect-generating AM processes.

Direct measurement of key thermal metrics indicating process quality such as critical temperature points, thermal decay and thermal area profile are made and recorded to create a digital record of the build events and to correlate in-process data to post process evaluation methods, particularly those requiring invasive, destructive and-time consuming post-process evaluation methods such as microstructural imaging and X-ray computer tomography. Economic analysis is conducted correlating in-situ inspection data to model predictions and post-process evaluation results allowing correction of AM processes as well as the reduction of post-process steps are estimated in terms of unit-cost reduction and reduction post-process steps.


Methods to Enable Rapid Qualification of Additive Manufacturing Processes


Stratonics-Button-DMLS additive manufacturingABSTRACT: Additive Manufacturing (AM) is digital/layer process for component manufacturing using automated, three-dimensional fabrication techniques, including EBAM and DMLS. Currently, AM component fabrication is costly and time consuming, using iterative and empirical Design of Experiments approach to optimize alloy selection and processing parameters. A process for rapid qualification of AM components to improve quality, reduce cost and schedule is required. Stratonics will develop a process to efficiently combine modeling and experiments that will rapidly estimate the dimensions of life-limiting defects and occurrence probability.

Our innovation will use materials, processes and strength models with probabilistic consideration and in combination with processing experiments, using real-time sensing, high volume data analytics and post processing inspection. FEA simulations will be used to examine how defect size (e.g. porosity) corresponds to loaded crack propagation. The experiments will be guided by modeling and include intentional defects with a DMLS sensor suite looking for porosity event signatures with high speed/thermal imagery, multi-spectral sensory, and melt pool temperature imaging. The resulting deposits will be examined for microstructure and porosity/flaw/void, including 3D tomography and acoustic NDT. These integrated methods, model/experimental, will provide for rapid quality assessment in the early design stage, enabling damage tolerant design philosophies.


Edison Welding Institute – America Makes/National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)

Title: NIST for Additive Manufacturing Research

Led by NAMII and principal collaborators EWI, Concurrent Technologies Corp., and the University of Louisville, along with 23 partners from industry, universities, and national laboratories, NAMII’s awarded proposal focuses on a three-part research plan to ensure that quality parts are produced and certified for use in products made by a variety of industries and supply chains. The emphasis of the research is to develop specific tools needed for additive manufacturing applications to progress from prototype to market ready. America Makes News / America Makes Video

Optomec, Inc – America Makes

Title: Reborn in the USA

Optomec has been awarded its third America Makes project for metal 3D printing. This one will focus on using the company’s LENS 3D metal printing technology for repairing aerospace components used by the US Air Force.

The two-year, $4 million “Reborn in the USA” project was kicked off a couple of weeks ago, Tom McDonald, Optomec’s America Makes program manager, tells Design News in an interview. The project team consists of 23 partners, and includes aerospace giants like GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, and United Technologies Research Center. It also includes several technology experts such as Concurrent Technologies Corporation. The goal is to come up with a cost-effective and reliable approach and guidelines for repairing high-value metal components, instead of lengthy and expensive existing processes such as welding by hand. Design News, 07/25/14

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