6–10 January 2020
Hyatt Regency Orlando,
Orlando, Florida

Additive Manufacturing Adds Metal to the Mix


Moderator Laurette Lahey, director, Flight and Vehicle Technology, Boeing Research & Technology; Mohammad Ehteshami, retired CEO and vice president, Additive Integration, GE Aviation; Branden Kappes, operations director, Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies, Colorado School of Mines; Nicholas Mulé, program manager, Advanced Programs, Additive Manufacturing, Aerojet Rocketdyne; Randall “Ty” Pollak, director of research and development, Universal Technology Corp.; David Waller, principal engineer, Ball Aerospace

by Michele McDonald, AIAA communications manager

AIAA SCITECH FORUM, San Diego, Jan. 7, 2019 — Panelists in the “On-Demand Metal Manufacturing” session discussed the current state of metal additive manufacturing, its challenges and where it’s headed.

For Mohammad Ehteshami, retired CEO and vice president of Additive Integration at GE Aviation, he said the turning point came when GE decided to print an engine fuel nozzle using additive manufacturing.

“We created because we had to,” he said. “It was fight or surrender.”

Before additive manufacturing, the nozzle had 25 parts and traveled 5,000 to 10,000 miles during the manufacturing process, Ehteshami said, explaining that now, it is one part and travels 100 meters from start to finish.

Panelists expect metal additive manufacturing to become another useful tool. However, they said, until then, some challenges, including not sharing information, may hamper the process. In the earlier stages of additive manufacturing, companies didn’t share because they wanted to hold onto competitive advantages. Now the advantage is setting standards for what works.


Participants in the panel discussion "On-Demand Metal Manufacturing,” Jan. 7 at the 2019 AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition (AIAA SciTech 2019) in San Diego.

Data is crucial, especially knowing what’s important, panelists said. No one wants to be in the position of not having data if something goes wrong, they said.

Location is also a challenge. Where it is on Earth or in space and where the part is in the engine all affect the metal.

Workforce development is another hurdle for metal additive manufacturing. Knowing the phases of the manufacturing process helps ensure success. Panelists noted that skilled members of their teams are multidisciplinary.

Panelists agreed that metal additive manufacturing is at a transition point, with the expectation of it becoming another useful tool. Martian soil could provide the basic materials to print what space explorers need, and additive manufacturing could turn discarded metal in landfills into products, said Randall “Ty” Pollak, director of research and development with Universal Technology Corp.

“There’s gold in those landfills,” Pollak said.

Watch the full video for more details.

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