Sirris integrates additive manufacturing in production line demonstrator

With the AM Integrated Factory Sirris shows that additive manufacturing (AM) is ready for the production floor. The official launch took place on 14 November. The pilot line which combines different technologies - an investment of €2.5 million - is a first for Belgium and far beyond.

It is becoming clearer day by day: while the AM system for polymers are usually used for the production of prototypes, the counterparts for metals are already moving towards effective manufacturing and are already being used for parts of the production. This opens up a window for the production of 3D printed metals at an industrial level, both in terms of quality and quantities. In order to make large quantities of AM parts in an automated, flexible, monitored and connected way, the knowledge and technology required to do so must be further developed. AM will, for example, be integrated in the production systems of companies, both in existing systems and systems in development.

Besides the increasingly interesting production and industrialisation aspects, the AM technology may also be implemented and integrated in an Industry 4.0 context.

First time right

For the obstacles still faced by the integration and industrialisation of AM today, an ‘AM integrated factory’ can offer a solution. An AM integrated factory is a demonstration and research infrastructure, where a pilot setup is created for the production of components on an industrial scale. This is done by putting additive manufacturing on the same level as other production technologies. Instead of setting up a production line in a back room, AM can be embedded in the line, which allows us to tackle the challenges of first-time-right production and bring it a step closer and within reach of more and also smaller companies.

With its own ‘AM integrated factory’ Sirris actually brings the idea of the 'factory of the future' to the shop floor. We demonstrate that several recent breakthrough technologies can now also be integrated on one production line, which makes the production quicker and more accurate. The pilot set-up of a production line combines the following state-of-the-art technologies: LBM (laser beam melting), 5-axis high-precision milling, laser hardening, surface functionalization by means of a femtosecond laser and operator support by means of a cobot. 

At the service of the industry

On 14 November the demonstrator was officially presented to the industry. During the festive event with a speech from Herman Reynders, Governor of the province of Limburg, and a keynote from Jonathan Meyer - Head of Additive Manufacturing, Airbus Group Innovations - there was ample opportunity to get  to know the 'Sirris AM Integrated Factory' and find out more about the ERDF project 'Integration of 3D metal printing', which is the framework for the development of this pilot line.

The installation will be used to demonstrate the makeability of very complex components with high added value. This is done by integrating complexity, precision and a combination of functionalities in production components and within a first time right approach to make it economically feasible.

Thanks to this pilot line companies will be able to rely on immediate access to this knowledge, which is developed on this infrastructure. We are already noticing quite some interest from the industry in the actual applicability at the target companies.

Watch the video on KanaalZ :


This event is part of ERDF project 1126 Integration of 3D metal printing with the support of ERDF, Flanders and the Province of Limburg and in cooperation with Syntra Limburg.