Additive manufacturing (AM) is still a very small market. AM systems are limited by the costs of materials, rates of fabrication, reliability of processes, integration with other processes and limitations in layer-by-layer deposition. Historically, additive manufacturing has been limited to small build envelopes at low deposition rates with limited materials that are sold by the equipment manufacturer.
ORNL is working on next generation systems that explore controls, hardware, feedstock condition, and software to develop new machines with high deposition rates, large build volumes, increase reliability, and improve properties using the low cost feedstocks available. As systems are enhanced, additional applications for energy efficiency and renewable energy generation are possible, increasing the number of companies interested in the technology, and DOE’s potential impact.