Advanced Manufacturing: Prototyping and Rapid Transition to Small Lot Production

Our strategic mission objectives of nuclear deterrence and threat reduction require that LANL be at the forefront of advanced manufacturing. Innovations in manufacturing informed by strategic exploitation of our advanced computational and experimental capabilities will accelerate qualification and certification of new materials, processes, components, and systems. To solve our nation’s increasingly demanding nuclear security challenges, modern prototyping capabilities are needed at our laboratory to exercise and enhance our workforce.

This SIC will ensure that LANL creates an advanced, agile prototyping capability for LANL, which supports development of new materials, processes, and components for the stockpile and other mission-critical applications. This new capability will accelerate maturation and subsequent qualification for stockpile applications by training a next-generation workforce to think differently than we have during the era of Life Extension Programs. We will develop this new capability through several strategic investments along with workforce opportunities aimed at solving our most difficult manufacturing science challenges.

By investing in agile prototyping, LANL will build a new capability that allows engineering and physics design principles to be examined while new materials and processing routes are in development. The combination of design and manufacturing science in a prototyping capability enables the acceleration of technology readiness level and manufacturing readiness level schedules. This will underpin an ability to build, qualify, and certify new components with new manufacturing technologies. This framework will drive rapid maturation of conceptual designs from prototypes to small-lot manufacturing, with the goal of new technology insertion into programs across the US nuclear enterprise.

This SIC supports Critical Outcomes in pit production, non-nuclear production, and responsive operations.