The University of Maine Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) is offering additive metal manufacturing services and training to facilitate the adoption of 3D metal printing in businesses statewide.
The new Center for Additive Manufacturing of Metals (CAMM), based at AMC, focuses on the process of fusing small metal particles through 3D printing to form solid metal objects. The bound metal-deposition modeling process is ideal for small parts used in tooling or fixturing.
Funding for the center comes from a nearly $500,000 Maine Technology Institute Cluster Initiative Program grant, with matching funds from the university and 35 Maine companies, bringing the total to $1 million. The funds also will be used as a partial match for a $750,000 U.S. Economic Development Administration grant to AMC. With matching funds, that grant totals $1.5 million.
CAMM is working with the partner companies, including GE Power in Bangor and Pratt & Whitney in North Berwick, to produce parts, as well as test and conduct research on the process.
The center is training company personnel, and UMaine staff and students on the new technology, and is the only Maine facility currently offering these services. CAMM was awarded “Innovator of the Year” at the Manufacturers Association of Maine’s annual summit.
By using CAMM services, companies can create a product and realize the potential of adding the technology to their facility before spending thousands of dollars on a new machine.
At the Center for Additive Manufacturing of Metals, three machines use metal powder mixed with wax and a polymer binder to create structures with similar properties to metal parts produced by casting or subtractive processes, such as milling or turning.