Technical Challenges

The Technical Challenges, designed to solve some of the Air Force's most significant sustainment issues,were a shining moment of the inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Olympics. Teams from across the country competed for up to $100,000. Congratulations to the 20 teams who took home a medal!

TDP Relay

The Air Force is constantly looking for better performing, more cost effective, and more reliable technology to produce parts that are required by field units. From prototype to end-use parts, additive manufacturing has advanced in both quality and speed of production. The goal of this challenge was for participants to accurately recreate a 3D printed part from an existing Technical Data Package using innovative techniques, all while demonstrating accuracy, skill, and completeness.

Box of Parts Floor Exercise

3D printing is revolutionizing parts availability by reengineering broken parts or parts that don’t have existing drawing packages. Advanced manufacturing techniques, like 3D printing, enable field units to optimize part design, use fewer materials and produce parts more quickly without compromising durability or quality. In this challenge, teams were to demonstrate 3D scanning and printing technology’s ability to accurately reengineer a part without an existing plan. With the rise of handheld scanning, the end goal was to identify automated or hands-free scanning for rapid and accurate reverse engineering capabilities.

Material Hurdles

Aluminum and polymer materials are widely used for advanced manufacturing techniques. In this challenge, teams were to identify and demonstrate new developments in aluminum, polymer and combination or hybrid technologies to push the envelope. The challenge was designed to test the strength of materials, ingenuity of design, and ease of use of proposed solutions. The goal of this technical challenge was to identify and demonstrate new aluminum materials that will further the AM industry.

Approval Sprints

There is a pressing need to rapidly deploy engineering solutions for the sustainment of Air Force fleet and infrastructure. Advanced manufacturing technologies are capable of rapid production for sustainment; however, it is difficult to exploit these capabilities without radical improvement to Air Force certification methods and timelines in the approval of new materials, processes, and components. Selected Approval Sprint teams competed to deliver a polymer additively manufactured replacement solution for rapid deployment of a specified F-16 aircraft component.

The goal of this technical challenge was to identify innovative strategies for rapid design, qualification and deployment of sustainment solutions which leverage new manufacturing materials, processes, and components.

Supply Chain Marathon

In the last few years, additive manufacturing has moved far beyond its original prototyping applications and is now used in Supply Chain Management (SCM). AM’s impact on SCM can take many forms, including reduced material waste, increased production flexibility, and the ability to decentralize production. In this challenge, teams were to solve an Air Force supply chain problem set requiring the use of novel advanced manufacturing concepts.

The goal of this challenge was to develop the use of novel advanced manufacturing concepts coupled with innovative Supply Chain Management (SCM) approaches to propose the best basing strategy that satisfies the most warfighter requirements, and delivers parts on-time and on-schedule.

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