Skip to main content

Booming technologies

In 2015, Sirris helped a growing number of businesses to assess the feasibility of additive manufacturing and to make the right technological choices. It also began working with new partners who will take over small-batch production.

Additive manufacturing comprises new production technologies that work by building up layers of material. It reduces waste, unlike machining processes, which work by removing material. Highly complex parts can be designed without the need for assembly. This makes them lighter – a major plus in the aviation and automotive sectors, among others. Additive manufacturing also makes it cheaper and faster to develop prototypes. In 2015, a number of businesses were established in Belgium selling products developed using these technologies.

“Additive manufacturing is reaching maturity, with many new businesses investing in it. Sirris will therefore focus on developing specialist parts for cutting-edge sectors, and leave small-batch production to start-ups.” 

Projects in 2015

  • More targeted service: Sirris restructured in 2015 to target its support towards cutting-edge technologies. It will now focus its services on four flagship technologies (material jetting, binder jetting, vat photopolymerisation, powder bed fusion). External partners have been found for a further two technologies (sheet lamination and directed energy deposition), which are already at an advanced stage of deployment. Sirris will maintain its current services in material extrusion.
     
  • Sirris supported some 500 industrial projects involving additive manufacturing in 2015, up around 25% on the previous year. Now just over 20 years old, these technologies are gradually entering the public domain and becoming more accessible to businesses.
     
  • Seven new research projects launched in 2015, including three Marshall projects geared towards metal additive manufacturing for the aviation and aerospace industry.  
     

What is Sirris working on now?

  • 14 research projects: Work is continuing on the seven projects begun prior to 2015, and  seven new projects have been launched, including: 
     
  • FEDER Iawatha (InnovAtion en WAllonie par les TecHnologies Additives): Sirris has teamed up with six Walloon universities and research centres to acquire new equipment, including a new metal powder laser fusion station due to arrive in late 2016, and to explore its potential for designing new parts as well as their mechanical validation and certification. This project is co-funded by Wallonia and Europe.
     
  • Antenne Normes: Sirris is drafting the procedures to be followed to ensure that parts made using additive manufacturing comply with new European standards. Where no standards exist, it is carrying out pre-normative work by identifying best practices that may become standards. For example, it is studying how to use, handle and recycle the powders used in additive manufacturing machines. 
     
  • Business support (for industrial projects) is expanding significantly in Flanders, where Sirris has deployed an additive manufacturing expert team since 2014. In Wallonia, there is increasing collaboration on technology transfer to companies wanting to exploit AM technologies for their own purposes, as well as with new service companies

 

Moments of inspiration

Sirris held six masterclasses to help businesses rethink the design of their products based on the potential of additive manufacturing:

  • two group masterclasses, in which a number of companies worked together on a significant product for their business; 
  • four private masterclasses for individual companies.
     

Borit developed a 3D-printed part designed to feed accurate doses of gas into its production process in a targeted way. The part can be printed in one go, replacing a complex and costly assembly process. At Atlas Copco, design units from various countries came together to consider how to optimise a compressor and set up a team specialising in additive manufacturing.

Discover our full range of Additive Manufacturing services.