SOURCE: Harvest Technologies

Harvest Technologies

September 04, 2013 11:30 ET

Harvest Technologies Awarded Air Force Phase I SBIR Grant

Company to Leverage Materials Research to Develop Solutions for Laser Sintered Materials Characterization

BELTON, TX--(Marketwired - Sep 4, 2013) - Harvest Technologies, a Belton, Texas based additive manufacturing service bureau, announced today that it has been awarded a $150,000 Phase I SBIR contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Labs to develop models for characterizing new laser sintering material candidates. These models will provide a basis for characterizing new laser sintering materials, establishing a fundamental understanding of material behavior so that existing molding grade polymers can be adapted for use in the laser sintering process, and qualify laser sintering feedstock for use in production. The results will benefit military and commercial aerospace manufacturers as well as laser sintering materials manufacturers.

This research will build on the production history, materials characterization, and process monitoring done at Harvest Technologies over the last decade. Research completed by Harvest Technologies in the Phase I contract will characterize laser sintering bulk powder, the behavior of candidate materials during melt, and subsequent recrystallization behavior of these materials. A chart of the materials showing a correlation of measured powder characteristics to resultant mechanical properties will be used to create an empirical model that can be used as a basis for creating a "fingerprint" of viable laser sintering materials.

The establishment and use of this empirical model will provide a foundation for creating a more detailed scientific model in subsequent research. The use of these models could have an immediate impact decreasing laser sintering feedstock costs and increasing overall part quality and repeatability. Future opportunities created by this research will be a model to help identify a variety of candidate materials for use in laser sintering as well as a tool for polymer scientists to use in engineering and adapting commercial polymers to a laser sintering grade material.

"Harvest is excited in finding a research partner for laser sintering production and additive manufacturing of polymers," said David K. Leigh, President of Harvest Technologies. "In our quest to bring more materials to market and help create industry standards in materials processing, we are thrilled to be working with the Air Force through this SBIR grant program."

Harvest Technologies will collaborate with the University of Texas's Cockrell School of Engineering and Laboratory for Freeform Fabrication for Phase I of the SBIR Grant, as well as future research for and relating to material characterization. As the birthplace of laser sintering, the University of Texas' intimate knowledge of the laser sintering process will be a key factor in the success of this project.

The Phase I grant was awarded in July 2013 and is anticipated to be completed by the end of the year.

About Harvest Technologies
Harvest Technologies manufactures functional prototypes, show models, casting patterns, tooling fixtures & jigs, and end-use parts and assemblies from 3D CAD data-driven additive manufacturing processes, including stereolithography, laser sintering, and direct metal laser sintering. The company serves a wide variety of industries including: aerospace/aviation, consumer products, medical devices, engineering & design, automotive, oil & gas, industrial equipment, and the military.

Harvest opened in 1995 as a one-person one-machine home based business. Over the next few years the company began serving numerous small to midsized companies throughout North America, as well as large-scale original equipment manufacturers. Today Harvest is a supplier to thousands of customers worldwide and is certified as an ISO 9001:2008 and AS9100C manufacturer. For more information, visit

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