Spirit AeroSystems and research firm Oak Ridge National Laboratory are partnering on the development and production of advanced material solutions for the commercial, defense and aerospace markets, the Boeing supplier announced last week.
The two organizations will partner on the production of lower-emission advanced material types through the Department of Energy’s Industrial Demonstrations Program, Sean Black, Spirit AeroSystems senior vice president, chief technology officer and chief engineer, said in a statement.
“With the right manufacturing techniques, machines, and tools capable of reaching a high rate on products, paired with the right approach to manufacture advanced materials and a relentless drive to optimize, means success in designing and modeling fully integrated commercial and defense aerospace systems,” Black said in a statement.
The Industrial Demonstrations Program funds projects focusing on decarbonizing energy-intensive industrial production processes, according to the federal agency’s website. The program is supported with $6.3 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.
Oak Ridge’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, where the work will take place, is a designated Department of Energy user facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The facility is sponsored by the department and managed by the University of Tennessee-Battelle, dedicated to early-stage research to enhance energy and material efficiency in manufacturing.
Oak Ridge’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility is a “natural fit” for Spirit AeroSystems as it offers a unique environment to collaborate on developing technologies in a manufacturing-focused climate, a spokesperson for the aerospace company told Manufacturing Dive in an email.
The partnership will explore how to improve existing production methods and cycle times at Spirit AeroSystems, as well as develop and integrate alternative process techniques to efficiently manufacture modified and new materials and technologies, the spokesperson said.
“Testing and qualification are a fundamental part of any process development program yet their cost can at times be a deterrent to innovation and improvement,” the spokesperson said.