Clean Currents 2022

Advanced Manufacturing for Hydropower Applications: Tech Demo 2 in the Innovation Power House

Advanced Manufacturing, or AM, is a general term referring to anything outside of traditional manufacturing techniques (such as machining, welding, casting, or forging). AM techniques can be used to solve many of today’s challenges in the hydropower industry by reducing costs, lead time, and energy consumed during the manufacturing process. Additionally, AM provides opportunities for lighter weight and more complex designs with additional functionalities to improve efficiency.

Some AM opportunities include additive manufacturing, hybrid additive/subtractive manufacturing, additive manufacturing of tooling to be used with traditional casting/forging processes, composites, novel coating processes, and automation for in-situ repairs (e.g., cavitations repair currently performed using manual welding processes).

In particular, additive manufacturing, also referred to as 3-D printing, can provide an advantage over traditional manufacturing methods in situations where production of parts is limited (custom fabrication of legacy parts) and/or characterized by complex novel designs.

The Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a world-class facility that specializes in research related to new materials, software, and systems for advanced manufacturing. Additionally, the MDF has a division dedicated to characterization and metrology, which is critical in helping AM techniques become more widely accepted in industry.

While this technology offers promise, there are still challenges to adoption that calls for additional research. There are a multitude of AM processes to fabricate components using metal, ceramic, and composites, and the mechanical properties are highly dependent on the AM process itself. continued research, demonstrations, and testing are required to optimize and validate these novel manufacturing processes.

Why AM Matters to Bureau of Reclamation
The Bureau of Reclamation, like many hydro asset owners, faces the challenge of maintaining aging hydraulic infrastructure. Many Reclamation facilities now exceed 70 years in age and are need of repairs.

For these repairs, some replacement parts have become increasingly difficult to find and may no longer be available. If a part must be custom-fabricated, costs can quickly escalate. In addition, Reclamation resources, including craft labor, are already stretched in many cases.

Outsourcing a critical part with a long lead time could risk costly downtime at a facility.

Therefore, an alternative to traditional manufacturing methods could be a significant benefit.
View the presentation here.

Presenter Information

David Tordonato

David Tordonato
Advanced Manufacturing/Materials Specialist
Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Department of the Interior
Demonstration Speaker


Jesse Heineman

Jesse Heineman
Mechanical Engineer, Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), U.S. Department of Energy
Demonstration Speaker


Mirko Musa

Mirko Musa
Water Resources Engineer - Research Scientist
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), U.S. Department of Energy
Demonstration Speaker

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