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May 11, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Orbital Composites licenses technology co-developed with ORNL

Called additive manufacturing compression molding, the technology is expected to revolutionize the aerospace, mobility, and energy industries.

Orbital Composites, a Campbell, CA company developing robotic additive manufacturing (AM) of continuous fiber-reinforced composites, has announced the exclusive licensing of a new technology co-developed with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Called additive manufacturing compression molding (AMCM), Orbital said in this CompositesWorld article that the technology is set to revolutionize the aerospace, mobility, and energy industries by offering a new level of speed, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness to the composites manufacturing process. AMCM combines the benefits of additive manufacturing with the precision of compression molding. The technology uses polymer and continuous fiber AM to print directly onto a mold, followed by compression, producing a finished part with high-level accuracy and consistency.

AMCM has undergone technology and application validation at ORNL and has been shown to reduce the time and cost associated with traditional manufacturing while improving the quality of the final product. Through a recent demonstration, ORNL manufactured 100 AMCM parts in five hours, demonstrating less than a three-minute cycle time per part.

Orbital collaborated with ORNL in building the robotic AM system and incorporated continuous fiber printing into the AMCM process. The project has also received support from the Knoxville-headquartered Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation.

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