LENS (Laser Engineered Net Shaping) Considered One of the Most Successful Projects in CTMA History Providing DoD with Millions in Annual Savings

Albuquerque, New Mexico 12 April 2006: Dr. Richard Grylls, LENS Product Manager for Optomec, presented the results of LENS Phase II at the 2006 CTMA (Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities) Symposium in Williamsburg, Virginia. Following on the footsteps of LENS Phase I, the second phase of the project delivered a next generation additive manufacturing system, the LENS 850-R, which will be used to repair large, high value metal components at the Anniston Army Depot (ANAD) in Alabama.

Phase I of the project began in 2002 when the first LENS 850 system was installed at ANAD to repair gas turbine engine components from the M1 Abrams Tank. These components were deemed difficult or impossible to repair in the past, requiring expensive part replacement vs. cost-effective repair. Since its introduction at ANAD, LENS has been approved as a repair process for numerous engine components, saving the Department of Defense (DoD) millions annually.

LENS Phase II was a direct result of the achievements of LENS Phase I – one of the most successful projects in CTMA history. Following the completion of LENS Phase I, Optomec gathered feedback from ANAD and others (the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Keyport, and the Naval Aviation Depot, Cherry Point) and developed the LENS 850-R system. The 850-R is specifically designed with a larger work envelope, making it ideal for repair and fabrication of larger components. The LENS 850-R was installed at ANAD in January 2006 to keep pace with the increased M1 Abrams Tank overhaul schedule.

Optomec’s LENS systems are used to cost-effectively fabricate, enhance, and repair high-performance metal components in state-of-the-art materials such as titanium, and stainless steel. The LENS systems use energy from a high-power laser to build up structures one layer at a time directly from powdered metals. The resulting fully functional 3-dimensional components have mechanical properties that can be equivalent or even superior to wrought materials. LENS solutions can be used throughout the entire product lifecycle for applications ranging from materials research to functional prototyping to volume manufacturing to in-process rework and in-service repair applications.

The purpose of the CTMA Working Symposium is to identify new project ideas and collaborative teams as candidates for future CTMA projects. Working with the co-sponsoring organizations, the Symposium seeks to identify manufacturing issues, reviews current federally-funded projects that address some of these issues, and then works together to identify project areas of interest to the Symposium participants. CTMA is a collaboration between the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), its member companies, and the (DoD). The current focus is the use of manufacturing technologies to reduce the costs associated with maintenance and rebuild of weapons systems as an element of the overall DoD maintenance strategy.

Optomec is the world leading provider of additive manufacturing systems for high-performance applications in the Electronics, Biomedical, and Aerospace & Defense markets. These systems utilize Optomec’s proprietary M3D aerosol-jetting technology and LENS powder-metal fabrication technology. The company has a global customer base of industry-leading manufacturers.

LENS is a registered trademark of Sandia Corporation.