WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL) — Researchers from the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, have combined efforts with The Ohio State University, or OSU, and industry partners CapSen Robotics and Yaskawa Motoman to successfully demonstrate an autonomous robotic incremental metal forming prototype at the Warner-Robins Air Logistics Complex, or WR-ALC, a tenant of Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, in late January 2023. The artificially intelligent system, nicknamed AI-FORGE, was funded primarily by the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing, or ARM, Institute, and promises to not only improve aircraft readiness for the U.S. Department of the Air Force but also to significantly impact the future of metamorphic manufacturing, also called robotic blacksmithing.

“There is an immediate need to obtain customized forged components that we might only require a few of, but which have significant lead times,” said Dr. Sean Donegan, digital manufacturing research team lead, AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. “In the near future, this system will allow us to acquire the specific auxiliary components and tools that are required to successfully support DAF missions. But in the far term, we want to be able to make almost anything.”