Over the past few years, Oak Ridge National Laboratory has made many headlines with its collaboration with Cincinnati Inc. on Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) technology, which recently produced the world’s largest 3-D printed item ever. Last week at IMTS 2016, news broke that ORNL and Ingersoll will collaborate on a 3-D printer even bigger than BAAM.
The new 3-D printer, known as Wide and High Additive Manufacturing (WHAM), is Ingersoll’s first foray into 3-D printing. According to Ingersoll, with a standard work envelope of 23’ x 10’ x 46’ and target material deposition rate of 1,000 lbs/hour, WHAM machines will perform at an order of magnitude larger and faster than any printer currently on the market.
The company adds that while it is new to 3-D printing, its development of WHAM will “draw on a wealth of existing proficiencies.” Ingersoll’s portfolio includes many of the world’s largest metal cutting and automated fiber placement (AFP) machines, and it says its AFP technology is an additive composite process in itself.
“Our machine design expertise combined with the ability to develop a complete process for our customers makes WHAM a logical step forward. Our partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory gives us a huge advantage,” said Tino Oldani, President and CEO of Ingersoll.
While the WHAM will use many materials over time, Ingersoll is initially focusing on Techmer’s ABS composite plastic, which is reinforced with 10 percent chopped carbon fiber. While development of the 3-D printer will heavily rely on ORNL’s experience with large-scale 3D printing, Ingersoll’s engineering experience will guide a big part of the project.
“Our collaboration with Ingersoll on the development of a 3D printer that provides a volume not possible with current printers could open up new markets and applications in defense, energy and other areas of manufacturing. Ingersoll brings years of experience engineering massive equipment in the composites area, and we look forward to a successful partnership,” said Bill Peter, acting director of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL.