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Melissa Orme

Dr. Melissa Orme

Vice President of Additive Manufacturing

The Boeing Company

Melissa is a renowned pioneer, innovator and leader in the developing field of Additive Manufacturing, where her seminal work in additive manufacturing spans three decades and has resulted in 15 US patents and numerous peer-reviewed journal articles. Melissa has a rich and diverse professional background, having begun her career in academia where she rose to the rank of Full Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California Irvine. There, she established globally recognized research laboratories in the field that is now termed ‘Additive Manufacturing,’ where she developed methods for controlled electrostatically charged and deflected molten metal droplet deposition for precision manufacturing, direct writing of electronic components, and precise powder production. Subsequently, she transitioned from academia to high tech startups where she served as the Chief Technology Officer of Morf3D, a company that is focused on producing and delivering flight qualified additively manufactured hardware to the aerospace industry. From Morf3D she was recruited by Boeing to lead Additive Manufacturing across all business units.

In the capacity of Vice President of Additive Manufacturing at The Boeing Company, Melissa leads a highly innovative team that drives advanced engineering solutions to complex design problems for commercial airplanes such as the 787 Dreamliner; space and launch vehicles such as Artemis SLS rocket; satellites such as the O3b constellation; vertical lift programs such as the Chinook helicopter; fighter airplanes such as the F/A-15 and F/A-18; and autonomous vehicles such as the MQ-25 refueling drone. Insertions of Additive Manufacturing into these and other flight vehicles has been demonstrated to enhance quality and performance while simultaneously saving millions of dollars. Additionally, Melissa oversees Boeing research, both internal and external, focused on Additive Manufacturing including the development of new processes; materials; manufacturing digital transformation for industry 4.0; the creation of the digital thread; machine learning and data analytics.

Melissa has been a leader in additive manufacturing since the early days when she was an outlier in her academic department, advocating for adoption of manufacturing processes of the future. Today she leads a team of highly creative engineers, some of whom have never designed for traditional manufacturing, and have adopted and regularly implement additive manufacturing as a standard manufacturing technology in order to solve complex engineering problems on Boeing products, reducing cost and improving performance.

Melissa’s team won the 2023 ‘Manufacturing in 2030’ Award (from the Manufacturing Leadership Council) for their work on the digital thread in the AM value stream, and she was recently awarded the 2024 SME Eli Whitney Productivity Award for distinguished accomplishments in improving capability within the broad concept of orderly production. Additionally, Melissa was elected as a member to the National Academy of Engineering Class of 2024.


Discover how additive manufacturing will shape aerospace and already has…


Dr. Melissa Orme, vice president of Boeing Additive Manufacturing is responsible for growing and scaling additive manufacturing capabilities and helping to rapidly expand understanding of the unique features that AM can bring to Boeing factories and production lines. 

In this Q&A with Innovation Quarterly, Orme outlines how Boeing has been at the forefront of AM for aerospace for decades and continues to be a pathfinder for future applications.


Boeing at RAPID + TCT 2024

See Boeing on the Conference Stage on Wednesday, June 26 

10:00 am – 10:30 am

Michael Woodworth, Additive Manufacturing Simulation Specialist and Jordon Severson, Structural Analysis Engineer from Boeing present Predictive Distortion Compensation of Thin-Wall Aerostructures Fabricated Using Directed Energy Deposition.  

To meet the extreme aero-thermal environments experienced by aircraft, metal alloys are being investigated in conjunction with additive manufacturing to create complex part geometries. Due to schedules and budgets, it is crucial to achieve first-time quality parts. However, the steep thermal gradients experienced during the laser-directed energy deposition (L-DED) process can adversely affect the geometry by inducing distortions through residual stress buildup, which may cause the part to not meet geometric tolerances. 

To address those issues, Boeing developed a physics-based process model for L-DED using the inherent strain method. Three Inconel-718 aircraft leading-edge builds were completed each containing one unique component. A dimensional scan of the first component was obtained to develop the process model which was used to evaluate and generate new build concepts that were implemented into the final prediction-based distortion-compensated design. 

The model was able to accurately predict the distortions in just three hours on a desktop computer. In addition, the model successfully compensated for predicted distortions by generating an optimized preform geometry that, when accounting for process-induced distortions, produces a part within the as-designed profile tolerances. By utilizing the model, profile conformance was improved by 58% and maximum distortion was reduced by 90%. In summary, the model developed under this project provided accurate and rapid assessments of distortions in large, thin-walled AM builds while also successfully optimizing the design to meet acceptance criteria, thus enabling first-time quality. 

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Daniel Braley, Technical Fellow - Advanced Manufacturing & Additive Manufacturing from Boeing Global Services takes the stage to discuss Additive Friction Stir Deposition for Critical Need Aerospace Forgings.  

Many customers are flying their aircrafts longer than they were ever intended to fly. This has led to Aircrafts on Ground (AoGs) waiting for spare parts. Due to lack of existing tooling and/or suppliers, extremely long lead times, and material/process obsolescence, many of these spare parts are simply unobtainable via traditional manufacturing processes. This presentation dives into the use of Additive Friction Stir Deposition (AFSD) for critical need spare parts, and specifically large, highly loaded castings and forgings. 

Get a detailed look at the benefits of AFSD from a static, fatigue, and fracture toughness property perspective, and an understanding of why this technology is so disruptive and such a game changer for fleet readiness. Before the development of this technology, additive manufacturing of large Critical Safety Items was deemed largely impossible and impractical. This presentation provides a look at several military applications of AFSD on Boeing aircraft and rotorcraft fleets, including 707 military derivatives, Apache and Chinook helicopters, and fighter aircrafts such as the F/A-18.