DOD SBIR 24.1 BAA

Active
No
Status
Closed
Release Date
November 29th, 2023
Open Date
January 3rd, 2024
Due Date(s)
February 21st, 2024
Close Date
February 21st, 2024
Topic No.
AF241-D021

Topic

In-Place Heat Treat for Incrementally Formed Parts

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024

Summary

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic of "In-Place Heat Treat for Incrementally Formed Parts" as part of their SBIR 24.1 BAA solicitation. The Air Force branch is specifically interested in this research. The objective is to develop the ability to heat treat sheet metal parts directly on the forming equipment without removing the part. Currently, after forming, the part needs to be heat treated separately, which can cause warping and require re-striking. The goal of this research is to enable heat treating of metal in place immediately after the forming process, eliminating the need for the part to travel to another shop and simplifying the re-striking process. This capability would also allow for manipulation of the heat treat state of the sheet stock prior to forming, reducing lead times and increasing efficiency. The project will involve characterizing the temperature-time profile of the metal, testing the mechanical behavior of treated parts, and selecting a heating technology that meets the requirements. A working prototype will be developed to heat treat the part on existing robotic incremental forming equipment. The Phase III of the project will focus on refining hardware and software for increased accuracy and reliability, with the aim of achieving a production-ready state for marketing to the Air Force, other federal agencies, and private industry. The project duration and funding specifics are not provided in the document. For more information and to submit a proposal, interested parties can visit the solicitation agency's website at https://www.defensesbirsttr.mil/SBIR-STTR/Opportunities/.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Materials

 

OBJECTIVE: Research, evaluate, and ultimately deploy the ability to heat treat incrementally formed sheet metal parts directly on the forming equipment without removing the part.

 

DESCRIPTION: Metal is typically formed in a soft state. After forming, the part is typically heat treated to make it harder and applicable for use on an aircraft. The process of heat treating tends to warp the part, requiring the part to be placed back in/on the forming machine (called re-striking).

 

Robotic incremental metal forming provides a perfect use case to heat treat the metal in place directly after the forming process. This eliminates requiring the part to travel to another shop and another piece of equipment and greatly simplifies the re-striking process.  Additionally, sourcing certain sheet metal stock with the appropriate starting heat-treated state can be challenging, increasing the associated lead times to form parts and have them installed on aircrafts. 

 

In-place heat treat capability, given that it allows for the heat treat state of the sheet stock to also be manipulated prior to forming, can mitigate this issue.  Comprehensively considered, an in-place heat treat capability would make operations more efficient, effective, and safe.  These attributes would be realized through a much-lessened logistical footprint, on-time attention per part, and utility input per part.  The additional process would also greatly enhance net capacity to produce in surge production and other potential scenarios.

 

PHASE I: As this is a Direct-to-Phase-II (D2P2) topic, no Phase I awards will be made as a result of this topic. To qualify for this D2P2 topic, the Government expects the Offeror to demonstrate feasibility by means of a prior “Phase I-type” effort that does not constitute work undertaken as part of a prior SBIR/STTR funding agreement. For this topic, evaluators are expecting that the submittal firm demonstrate the ability to detect warpage and re-strike the part as required.

 

PHASE II: Characterize the temperature-time profile of the metal as a function of heat treat parameters and test the mechanical behavior of the treated parts. Evaluate and ultimately pick a heating technology that meets the needed requirements. Develop working prototype to heat treat the part on the existing robotic incremental forming equipment at WR-ALC.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Refine hardware and software to increase accuracy and reliability.  Achieve production-ready state for marketing to the Air Force, other related federal agencies, and private industry.

 

REFERENCES:

Kalveram, Sandra – “Induction heat treatment of sheet-bulk metal formed parts”, Feb 26, 2016, https://www.advancedsciencenews.com/induction-heat-treatment-sheet-bulk-metal-formed-parts/
Merklein, M, Johannes, M. Lechner, M. Kupper, A. – “A review on tailored blanks—Production, applications and evaluation.” J. Mater. Process. Technol. 2014, 214, 151–164. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924013613002653;
R Waggott, DJ Walker, RC Gibson, RH Johnson – “Transverse flux induction heating of aluminum alloy strip” Metals Technology 9.1 (1982): 493-498. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/030716982803285954?journalCode=ymst19;

 

KEYWORDS: Incremental Metal Forming, Industrial Robots, Heat Treating