After almost two years of construction, the Additive Manufacturing Center (AMC) at TU Darmstadt starts operations. The new center for technology and knowledge transfer was officially opened today. In the future, it will act as a central point of contact for industry and business for questions and expertise related to additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing.
To fulfill this mission, 13 departments at TU Darmstadt from the fields of mechanical engineering, materials science, civil and environmental engineering, and law and economics have organized themselves into a joint project.
“With the Additive Manufacturing Center (AMC), we are opening a place of lived cooperation and a place of innovation,” said TU President Professor Tanja Brühl. “Potentials of interdisciplinary research and new technologies will be made available for application, especially by small and medium-sized enterprises. Along the entire digital process chain from product creation to recycling, the AMC enables close cooperation and co-production between science and industry – in line with TU Darmstadt’s xchange philosophy.”
The new technology center features the latest equipment and software for additive manufacturing, including advanced 3D printers, CAD software and other state-of-the-art tools. A unique feature is that the entire manufacturing process chain – starting with the raw materials, through component design and the printing process, right up to quality control – is represented in one building. This allows both students and industry employees to gain hands-on experience with the latest technologies and techniques in the field of digitally supported manufacturing chains.
The innovative AMC will offer high-quality training workshops and provide cooperation opportunities. In this way, regional medium-sized companies in particular will gain access to the scientific and technological potential of TU Darmstadt in newly developed additive manufacturing processes.
“With 3D printing, the AMC addresses one of the most innovative production technologies that will permanently change our production methods. The focus on education and training ensures that the innovative technology and know-how will be available to many skilled workers of the future,” says State Secretary for Economic Affairs Dr. Philipp Nimmermann.
In just under two years of construction, a new building with 1,160 square meters of usable space was erected for this purpose on Ottilie-Bock-Strasse on the Lichtwiese campus. The building offers office space for cooperative working, seminar rooms for training and further education, and laboratory and test areas for powder production, additive manufacturing, post-processing, and materials and component analysis. The project has a total budget of 17.7 million euros. TU will receive funding of €8.85 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the project.
“The AMC is designed as a hub for education, training and cooperation between industry and TU Darmstadt,” says Professor Matthias Oechsner, one of the initiators of the AMC. “We are convinced that this center, as a place for joint development projects, will make a valuable contribution to accelerating the transfer of technology and knowledge from academic research to industrial application.”
The training workshops offered at the Technology Center are designed and led across disciplines by experts from Darmstadt Technical University. Participants learn about the most diverse types of manufacturing technologies and gain practical experience in the respective digital and real process steps – from conception to the finished product. In addition to basics such as work safety and process control, the workshops offered also cover advanced topics such as the use of machine learning for faster process adaptation, post-processing, as well as materials analytics and component testing.
3D printing is a real technology of the future that is becoming increasingly important. Here, workpieces are no longer produced by material removal, but by applying material layer by layer – “printing” – until the desired shape is completed. The technology saves costs and material, reduces production waste, gives a high degree of design freedom, shortens production times and enables the manufacture of small quantities and highly individual products. For developers and users, this means a completely new way of thinking when designing new components compared to conventional production methods. This is where the AMC comes in. It imparts the necessary knowledge. In this way, the institution further strengthens the competitiveness of Hessian companies through its transfer activities.
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