Austria-based Ecoplus Plastics and Mechatronics Cluster have announced the completion of AM 4 Industry, a Collective Research Network (CORNET) project that demonstrates successful applications of additive manufacturing in industrial production. The findings from the project were recently published by the partners.
Though we tend to focus on how manufacturers are using additive manufacturing to streamline workflows and improve production, there are still many businesses that are struggling to adopt the technology or have not yet considered it. One hurdle to these businesses is that adoption and value-driven integration of AM requires a wide range of skills pertaining to processes, materials, finishing and quality assurance. AM also necessitates a cost-benefit analysis to help adopters determine the best way to use the manufacturing technology.
According to Lower Austria’s Ecoplus Plastics agency and Mechatronics Cluster, a successful application for AM in industrial production thus depends on the “definition of quality characteristics, the development of methods for design and construction, reliable monitoring of production processes, suitable guidelines for reworking and and appropriate cost-benefit model.”
To address these various factors, the Austria-based partners launched the AM 4 Industry CORNET project in 2016. Over the course of the €2.1-million project, Ecoplus Plastics and Mechatronics Cluster brought together eight research partners and 51 companies from Austria, Belgium and Germany to work on industrial concepts for AM.
The result of the extensive collaboration is a series of five publications, including a catalogue of errors associated with laser beam melting, a practical design methodology for AM, a fundamental study of processes, a tool for quality optimization and cost analyses, and an application-oriented example for adopting simulation software OpenFOAM (Open Source Field Operation and Manipulation) and simulation solver chtMultiRegion. The full reports can be found here.
Benjamin Losert, Project Manager at EcoPlus Plastics, said of the successful project: “Thanks to the expertise and the committed and open-minded cooperation of the partners involved, we were able to develop several methodologies and guidelines that will prove to be extremely relevant for the industry.”
Groups that collaborated on the CORNET project include the Research Institute for Rationalization (FIR) of the RWTH Aachen University, the Research Subsidiary of FH Wiener Neustadt – FOTEC, the Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology – IGCV, the Institute for Polymer Injection Moulding and Process Automation of the Johannes Kepler University Linz, the Chair of Polymer Processing of the University of Leoben, the RHP-Technology GmbH, and the Belgian collective centre for and by the technological industry – Sirris.