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Robotic Metal Additive Mobile Solution for Repair and Upgrade of Components using MELD®

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W912HZ-21-C-0024
Agency Tracking Number: A2-8528
Amount: $1,099,970.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: A19B-T012
Solicitation Number: 19.B
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-05-03
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-05-03
Small Business Information
200 Technology Drive
Christiansburg, VA 24073-1111
United States
DUNS: 081217517
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Chase Cox
 (540) 951-3980
 chase.cox@meldmanufacturing.com
Business Contact
 Nanci Hardwick
Phone: (540) 951-3980
Email: nanci.hardwick@meldmanufacturing.com
Research Institution
 Virginia Tech
 Matt Hebdon
 
300 Turner St. SW
Blacksburg, VA 24061-1111
United States

 (540) 231-6753
 Nonprofit College or University
Abstract

Sustainment of critical infrastructure systems such as train rail are in need of technologies capable of both repair and retrofit. A technology is not currently in place that is qualified to add material to structural components to either improve underperforming legacy structures or to repair damaged structures that have suffered material loss due to corrosion, erosion, impact, etc. With no approved method of repair, structural components that could otherwise be reworked are instead discarded and replaced with new part(s), placing an unnecessary burden on the supply chain. The MELD process, a novel solid-state additive manufacturing technology, offers a path forward to the qualification of a repair and retrofit process that is compatible with the alloys used to fabricate these structural components and is capable of producing materials that satisfy wrought requirements, both mechanical and chemical, of these alloys.  MELD Manufacturing Corporation, working with researchers at Virginia Tech, will demonstrate the MELD process to be capable of both repair and retrofit of real-world full size rail as well as demonstrating a portable robotic MELD system with improved articulation suited for repair at the point of need. In this effort, MELD Manufacturing Corporation will fabricate full scale material sections focused on demonstrating that the deposited materials meet or exceed component requirements for both repair and retrofit applications. The team at Virginia Tech will perform the analysis of the demonstrated repairs and retrofits, providing the data needed by the Army to begin qualifying the MELD process. Additionally, MELD Manufacturing Corporation will build a mufti-axis robotic platform on which the MELD deposition system will be mounted for the purposes of full-scale (in the lab) repair and retrofit of rail. MELD Manufacturing will leverage the expertise of roboticists at Virginia Tech to facilitate the integration of the MELD process with the robotic platform. The advancements in capability, including a more in-depth understanding of the properties of MELD repairs and retrofits as well as a demonstration of a portable, robotic MELD platform, will not only benefit the Army and other branches of service but will also benefit the needs of US based manufacturers in all industries in need of deployable repair and retrofit technologies.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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