The Utah Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Initiative (UAMMI) and ElectraFly, an aviation company building personal flying vehicles, are teaming up to create 3D printed carbon fiber aircraft parts for the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market.
“The market for Urban Air Mobility aircraft, which is on-demand urban transportation aircraft carrying from 1 to 8 passengers, is forecasted to be 430,000 vehicles over the next twenty years,” said Dr. Tulinda Larsen, Executive Director for UAMMI. “Using lightweight 3D printed advanced materials will be essential to meet the manufacturing requirements for this emerging industry,” she added.
Headquartered near Salt Lake City, Utah, ElectraFly is an aviation company designing and building single person, hybrid-electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) multicopters.
“There is an undeniable movement happening in air transportation, but there are problems in efficiency. Teaming with UAMMI to transition our complex metal parts to lightweight 3D printed composite parts will support our innovations and help expand our operations here in Utah,” said John Manning, co-founder of ElectraFly.
Under a contract from America Makes, for the last two years UAMMI has been using the Impossible Objects Composite Based Additive Manufacturing (CBAM) 3D printer to fabricate legacy aircraft parts for the Air Force. The CBAM technology is a novel additive process that uses carbon fiber sheets and thermoplastic materials to produce Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) components under heat and pressure in a similar manner to compression molding. The resulting CFRP parts are half the weight of aluminum but have comparable strength to weight ratios.
Building on the success of the Air Force project, UAMMI will now use the CBAM technology to begin printing parts for ElectraFly.
“The CBAM printer is ideal for manufacturing parts for Urban Air Mobility aircraft because the technology of layering composites ensures strong, lightweight composite parts and the digital agility of building different part families on-demand,” said Jeff DeGrange, Chief Commercial Officer, Impossible Objects. “We are thrilled that UAMMI and ElectraFly wil be using this technology to manufacture parts for their new innovative UAM vehicle and are excited to see the results,” he added.
The UAMMI and ElectraFly team will begin working on the project immediately with their first objective to replace the vehicles metal gears with composite fabricated parts. Additional parts will be be added to the program and manufactured over time.
Founded in 2014, the Utah Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Initiative (UAMMI) brings together public, private, community, industry and education partners to assure growth and sustainability of Utah’s advanced materials and manufacturing industry and maintain Utah’s leadership in this key global industry. www.UAMMI.org
ElectraFly is an aviation company building a hybrid-electric, personal flying vehicle. It has international patent-pending innovations to increase the lift capacity and flight times for vertical take-off and landing aircraft of any size. Electrafly innovations aim to expand today’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles, which are often limited to only carry cameras or sensors. Founded in 2017, ElectraFly offers unique and scalable innovations for the future of urban air mobility—in personal transport and package delivery. For more information, visit www.Electrafly.com .
About Impossible Objects
Impossible Objects is a 3D printer and materials company pioneering advancements in the additive manufacturing and composites manufacturing industries. Based on years of research and development, our composite-based additive manufacturing technology (CBAM) is an entirely new process that is fundamentally different from conventional additive manufacturing technologies. The CBAM process is designed specifically for composites. It produces parts stronger than other additive manufacturing technologies, faster than traditional composite methods, with more design freedom, and a broader selection of materials, including carbon fiber and fiberglass paired with Nylon and PEEK. www.impossible-objects.com
About America Makes
America Makes is the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. As the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM), America Makes is the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in AM and 3DP technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. Structured as a public-private partnership with member organizations from industry, academia, government, non-government agencies, and workforce and economic development resources, we are working together to innovate and accelerate AM to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness. Based in Youngstown, Ohio, America Makes is the first Institute within the Manufacturing USA infrastructure and is driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM). For more information about America Makes, visit https://americamakes.us .