A 3D-Printed Excavator

Achievement date: 

The Industry Engagement Committee (IEC) of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at the University of Minnesota, is leading a collaborative effort with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility to produce a 3D-printed excavator (see figure). The excavator is slated to be prominently displayed in 2017at a widely attended conference, which is an international gathering place every three years for the construction-related industries.


The goal of the 2017 display is to demonstrate the disruptive potential of 3D manufacturing on the way fluid power components and systems are currently made. One possible example under evaluation is to embed fluid power actuators and flow passages inside 3D-printed construction-vehicle manipulators to illustrate dramatically reduced overall weight with increased overall functionality. 


The CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE (International Construction Equipment Exposition-International Concrete and Aggregates Show and International Exposition for Power Transmission [formerly, International Fluid Power Exposition]) event in Las Vegas is the largest such show of its kind in North America. Several CCEFP research-highlight displays are planned to encircle the principal excavator display at the 2017 event.


These displays will occur in a forum with over 125,000 expected attendees. In this prestigious arena the displays will illustrate to an enormous audience the role that CCEFP has played in advancing the state of fluid power research in America.