COSM: autonomous in-space assembly and manufacturing
What seemed to be merely a product of science fiction, COSM Advanced Manufacturing System has been working on advanced technology that could bring the possibility of robots autonomously manufacturing components outside of a spacecraft a step closer to reality.
In an announcement made by COSM Advanced Manufacturing System, the company has begun the final development and build of electron beam 3D metal printing systems. The technology will be used for a variety of future in-space, lunar, and Martian applications. COSM Advanced Manufacturing System work is funded by a SBIR contract from NASA, supporting .
Harnessing its decades of experience using charged particle beams systems for imaging and metrology in the semiconductor industry, COSM Advanced Manufacturing System’s new system automatically monitors and adjusts the 3D print process as it occurs, using an electron beam to deposit metal from a spool of wire into a large complex part.
"Producing large metal parts autonomously to verifiable specifications and quality in-space will be an enabling part of man's permanent presence on the Moon and further missions to Mars. This complex task is made possible by fundamental technology developed by COSM with support from NASA's Langley Research Center. This next step in the technology development will result in the core system components validated for launch and operation in transit, on the Moon and Mars. This is an incredible opportunity and an honor for our team to play a role in NASA's Artemis program,” commented Richard Comunale, company founder and CEO.
Efforts made by COSM Advanced Manufacturing System, builds on previous work completed by the company alongside NASA Langley on their Electron Beam Free Form Fabrication (EBF3) program using focused electron beams for additive manufacturing (3D printing) of metal.
"We are excited by the prospect of adding COSM's high precision electron beam capabilities into the EBF3 process to enhance in-space welding and additive manufacturing for future exploration missions. COSM's experience enables integrated visualization and sensing in real time to control and inspect work being performed in remote areas," added Karen Taminger, senior materials research engineer and technical lead for metal additive manufacturing research at NASA Langley.
SAP Whitepaper: Advantages of Intelligent Assets
A core pillar in SAP’s Industry 4.0 strategy, Intelligent Assets equip organisations to reduce downtime, empower employees and increase efficiencies across industrial equipment and manufacturing units.
In a whitepaper produced in partnership between SAP and BizClik Media Group, Rachel Romanoski, Solutions Manager, Digital Assets, SAP, dispels some of the myths surrounding asset intelligent, and shares insight into how even small investment in asset intelligence can pay dividends in minimising cost leakage and realising an asset’s potential.
As with all innovations, the ceiling for Intelligent Assets is as high as an organisation can dream, afford and implement. But Romanoski says that just a little intelligence can go a long way: “Oftentimes people think Intelligent Assets need to be the latest and greatest cutting-edge technology. They can be super advanced, such as leveraging physics-based engineering simulations to forecast potential failures, and help mitigate them. But it could be as simple as a temperature reading. You can pull a lot of simple information from most equipment, and by enhancing that data through ancillary solutions and digital capabilities, you can create that Intelligent Asset.”
One of the most immediate benefits is reducing or, in some cases, eliminating unplanned downtime. Equipment failure is one of the most common causes of disruption and can cause chaos throughout the supply chain.
“The true power of the Intelligent Asset is in changing the basic, reactive emergency work or time-based, planned maintenance and being more prescriptive and tailored to that specific asset and use case,” Romanoski says. “Ultimately, you can reduce the unplanned events that often carry a big price tag.”
"Oftentimes people think Intelligent Assets need to be the latest and greatest cutting-edge technology... But it could be as simple as a temperature reading"
Other financial benefits include stemming cost leakage and “sweating assets” to the full potential. “Maybe you can consider the lifecycle of the asset and understand whether you can push it a little bit further,” Romanoski explains. “It might be that the best course of action for a low-cost item is to run it to failure. Having this information that we collect over time empowers those people to make those better decisions, but also has a trickle down effect to building resiliency and efficiency into the entire supply chain.”
To read the full report, including insight from Intelligent Assets, Intelligent Factories, Empowered People, and exclusive insight from Dominik Metzger, the lead on SAP’s Industry 4.0 programme, CLICK HERE.