The metalworking sector also benefits from AM

Additive technology is rapidly gaining in importance as a production technology for mechanical components. This is supported by the technological revolution that started by making it possible only to print plastic prototypes, and the current situation where fully functioning metal products are produced. In retaining and strengthening their competitive advantage, companies in the metalworking sector can benefit from research into the role that additive manufacturing could play in their production.

In order to increase the utilisation factor and potential of additive technology along with a guarantee for end-product quality, while remaining within an economically feasible framework, Sirris is a partner in the AM4Industry European (Cornet) project: The provision of quality assurance and cost-modelling support when additive manufacturing is deployed within the sector.

Final product quality assurance

The entire production chain from the initial design through to finishing is examined and harmonised in order that the quality of the end product can be assured. Guidelines for both the printing and finishing are issued during the design stage. Simulation models are used to help select the right process parameters for printing. During the printing process, real-time measurement systems make adjustments in order to guarantee the quality of the end-product. An appropriate milling strategy is applied after printing.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

A total-cost-of-ownership-model is designed to support companies when selecting the right processing technology. The model makes it possible to compare the traditional processing technology with production using additive technology. The model not only analyses the production costs, but also includes the design advantages (lightweight, improved functionality, etc.), as well as new, potential markets and business opportunities.

With its partners in Belgium, Austria and Germany the project was started on 1 January 2017 and will run for two years. Each research partner has a user group comprised of different companies behind it who help to guide the project. During the first steering group meeting of Belgian companies that took place recently, dozens of case studies were put forward, thereby indicating that additive technology, including precision finishing of printed components is certainly alive and kicking.

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