Support for legacy aircraft systems is critical to the warfighter. The Air Forces sustainment responsibilities encompass thousands of airframes and engines, representing some systems that have been out of production since the 1960s and 1970s. Among the most critical out-of-production components are those made from aluminum, steel, and magnesium castings. These castings are essential to gearboxes and housings, which are in turn essential to virtually every aircraft in the Air Force inventory. Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex has reported that a single gearbox housing has a lead time of 24 months and a cost of $80,000. A game changing solutionleveraging leading-edge additive manufacturing capability that provides step-function improvement in schedule and costis proposed to address the need for these steel, aluminum, and magnesium castings. Accomplishment of this solution is made possible through the combination of reverse engineering capability, additive manufacturing, and accompanying technologies that will form ceramic tooling/process aids to produce investment castings in a fraction of the time, with dramatically reduced cost relative to conventional methods. Renaissance Services, in conjunction with its partners Aristo Cast and BASF, will leverage their combined experience to provide a system for Rapid Engineered Casting Replacement with Additive & Formative Technologies (RE-CRAFT).; Benefit:
The proposed system will reduce the lead time for critical ceramic process aids (cores and molds) for investment castings by a minimum of 95% by eliminating the need for hard tooling and replacing it with CAD data that will be input directly for 3D printing of necessary cores and molds. As such, a process that typically requires 180 days will be reduced to 7 days. In addition to the lead time reduction, the elimination of this hard tooling will save between $100,000 and $750,000 in non recurring costs for each casting part number. While these lead time and cost savings are significant, the greatest benefit will be increased responsiveness to the needs of the warfighter, as critical steel, aluminum, and magnesium castings for gearboxes and actuator housings are made available in a fraction of the time and cost when compared to current processes.