Additive Manufacturing (AM) is the process of joining materials to make objects from 3D model data, usually layer upon layer, as opposed to subtractive manufacturing methodologies. The AM industry is moving this emergent technology forward from its prototyping history into a true manufacturing capability. The process has the potential to revolutionise design, production and supply of parts. Exploitation, however, has been particularly limited for AM metal parts due the time and energy consumption during the post-processing of AM parts.
To overcome some of the potential challenges, this project aims to design, develop and implement one efficient, fast and affordable post-processing solution based on existing technology, which can be part of an integrated system for post-processing of AM products. This will help to significantly increase the possibilities for 3D metal printing in industries that need high precision manufactured metal parts, e.g. medical industry, semiconductor industry, maritime industry, aviation, and new emergent clean-tech industries. These industries will then be able to produce metal parts through 3D printing that are lightweight and/or more efficient.
At present, the post-processing is a time-consuming, and therefore expensive activity. The project aims to develop an innovative in-line production process for post-processing of 3D printed metals, combining the flexible nature of 3D printing and the high accuracy nature of conventional machining. This will provide a new state of the art setup that can be used in various other sectors.
This project aims to align and combine the knowledge, expertise and skills dispersed among the regions, especially on 3D printing and high precision post-processing. The partners intend to understand the requirements of maritime, aviation and semiconductor industries in the 2Seas area, and implement this knowledge to reach the output of the project. This collaboration will provide the partners with the unique opportunity to combine knowledge, facilities and research capacity into strong partnerships and be able to tap into the innovative potential of the regions. The project will actively disseminate knowledge through the AM clusters in UK, NL, B and Fr, and thereby move the application of 3D printing in the 2Seas area forward.