On July 26, 2010 U.S. Senator Kay Hagan visited the Department’s Rapid Manufacturing and Prototyping Lab. Senator Hagan spent time on campus visiting a variety of laboratories and was intrigued by the state of research in additive manufacturing conducted by the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. The Lab’s research investigates the use of polymers and metals in prototyping and manufacturing.
Using electron beam melting ISE faculty and graduate students, in conjunction with other collaborators, have created advances in aerospace, automotive, biomedical and energy applications using titanium, steel and other alloys. Professors Ola Harrysson and Denis Marcelin-Little (College of Veterinary Medicine) have pioneered the use of EBM to fabricate custom transdermal osseointegrated implants which have the potential to assist accident victims and veterans who have lost a limb. These and other applications such as limb sparing implants, biodegradable implants (metal and biopolymer), cranial Implants and others were also on display.
The Electron Beam Melting (EBM) process was developed by Arcam AB, Sweden. The process, as the name suggests, uses an electron beam to selectively melt metal powder. The ISE department at NCSU purchased the very first EBM machine in the world in 2003 and has been one of the leading users ever since, adding a second machine in 2007, funded by the Golden Leaf Foundation, working in collaboration with the Institute for Maintenance Science and Technology.
Other ISE Research in Additive Manufacturing
ISE research seeks to extend the EBM process to a broader set of materials and to develop optimal control of the process. We are exploring applications in aerospace, automotive, biomedical and energy sectors. Collaboration between the ISE department and the Institute for Maintenance Science and Technology at NCSU will enable EBM fabricated titanium components to be flight certified. This work is being done in partnership with Boeing, NASA and the US military.