ecoplus Plastics and Mechatronics Cluster in Lower Austria report the completion of the CORNET project, ‘AM 4 Industry’, and published its findings on successful applications of additive manufacturing in the industry.
Additive manufacturing (AM) — colloquially referred to as 3D printing — is increasingly used in industrial production. Based on 3D model data, parts are automatically built layer-by-layer from plastics, metals and ceramics. The process is used to create complex structures that cannot be produced conventionally and to introduce new properties and functions for products. While some companies are already using additive technologies profitably, others are struggling to integrate them into the value chain. Economical use of AM requires users to have a wide range of skills in the areas of processes, materials, finishing and quality assurance. Besides, it demands a careful cost-benefit analysis which takes the required quality into account. A successful industrial application therefore 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 an appropriate cost-benefit model.
To explore these success factors, Ecoplus Plastics and Mechatronics Cluster in Lower Austria launched the ambitious CORNET project ‘AM 4 Industry’ in November 2016. For two years, eight renowned research partners and fifty-one companies from Austria, Germany and Belgium worked on industrial application concepts of AM. The COllective Research NETwork (CORNET) had a budget of 2.1 million euros. It consists of 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.
After intensive cooperation, this network has reported the successful completion of its project. The results, which support companies in implementing additive manufacturing processes, were divided into five publications relevant for practice and research.
“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”, said ecoplus project manager Benjamin Losert.
The five publications include a catalogue of errors for laser beam melting, a practical design methodology for additive manufacturing, a fundamental study of processes, a tool for quality optimisation and cost analyses and an application-oriented example for getting started with OpenFoam® and chtMultiRegion.
The summarised project results can be downloaded from the network’s website: www.am4industry.com
The project was financially supported by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG in the course of a CORNET (COllective Research NETworking).
ecoplus is a committed member of the technology platform AM-Austria: www.am-austria.com.