Strangpresse, Oak Ridge Enter Research Agreement

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Strangpresse LLC, based in Boardman, has entered into a cooperative research and development agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that will validate the company’s additive manufacturing extruders.

Strangpresse CEO Chuck George said the first of these new extruders should be shipped to Oak Ridge next week.

“We’ve done some work with Oak Ridge about a year ago,” George said. “We started discussions down there about entering into a cooperative research and development agreement.”

Oak Ridge Laboratory, based in Oak Ridge, Tenn., is the largest science and energy laboratory under the direction of the U.S. Department of Energy. The laboratory conducts applied research related to energy and security issues and is pioneering production methods for large-scale 3-D printed materials.

Strangpresse, founded in 2014, was established to produce big area additive manufacturing, or BAAM, thermoplastic extrusion machines. The company has patented a screw process that propels fungible plastic materials through a nozzle and used in the additive manufacturing process.

“We sent Oak Ridge some product and got their attention,” George said.

This new process is a polymer extrusion system that is capable of processing longer fibers in plastic resin, George noted. This mixture allows for additional strength in the finished material.

George said he was contacted by Oak Ridge about two months ago and the lab requested one of the new extruders. “The problem was we had a customer call the day before and we sent the extruder to them,” he said. “So, we had to build another one to send to them.”

Phase one of the project will focus on testing the extruder and outline its system requirements. Oak Ridge will then integrate the extruder into a test system that will validate its physical, electrical and computational capabilities.

Phase two will consist of further testing and evaluation of the system with the use of three long fibers selected by Oak Ridge, and will culminate in manufacturing a 3-D demonstration product.

George hinted that this validation process is part of a larger, more complex project that is still in its early stages of development.

“We are very excited to be teaming up with Oak Ridge again,” George said. “The processing of long fiber reinforced polymer is a game changer for additive manufacturing. The industry will no longer be comparing the strength of the part as it relates to the base thermoplastic polymer, but rather a factor related to the fiber strength.”

George said that Strangpresse has manufactured eight extrusion systems that are today operational in the field.

Pictured: Strangpresse CEO Chuck George.

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