Providing Robust Manufacturing Capabilities In Space
The Vulcan Advanced Hybrid Manufacturing (VULCAN) System combines several manufacturing technologies into one seamless system to produce precision metallic, polymer and hybrid parts. Utilizing additive and subtractive manufacturing, VULCAN provides a unique capability to advance manufacturing in the microgravity environment and pave the way for advanced, all-purpose manufacturing systems. VULCAN is able to produce high-strength, high-precision polymer and metallic components on-orbit with comparable quality to commercially-available, terrestrial machined and inspected parts.
Due to the ability to exchange different extruders and machining tools on demand, VULCAN can be upgraded over time by adding and adapting different tool sets or extruders to meet additional customer requirements. With both additive and subtractive manufacturing capabilities, VULCAN can create parts customized for their use case and tools that are optimized for strength or flexibility based on the blend of the multiple types of materials. Manufacturing in multiple types of materials also allows optimization for strategic use of remaining feedstock currently on orbit when recycling and/or resupply is unavailable. Such capability enables the in-situ manufacturing of critical parts for human and robotic spaceflight and without dependence on terrestrial resupply.
Using various extruder heads with both metal and polymer filaments, VULCAN can manufacture, refine and perform quality checks with aerospace grade metals, high grade polymers and hybrid components in a streamlined, automated process. The gantry system provides the infrastructure for interchangeable thermoplastic extruder heads and metal deposition heads mounted alongside a traditional machining spindle.