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Hyproline Report Summary

Project reference: 314685
Funded under: FP7-NMP

Periodic Report Summary 1 - HYPROLINE (High performance Production line for Small Series Metal Parts)

Project Context and Objectives:
The technical objective of Hyproline is to design, implement and validate a flexible high performance manufacturing line for serial fabrication of customized high quality metal parts that combines innovatively component technologies for net shape manufacture, direct write / structuring, inspection and intelligent automation. By further developing the manufacturing processes itself as well as by research and application work on materials, pre and post treatment of the parts produced and supporting software Hyproline adds capabilities to commercially available manufacturing systems, in terms of speed, product quality and versatility.
Three different metals will be elaborated: stainless steel 316L, titanium and copper. The blanks to be post treated have been produced by 3D printing Digital Metal technology, are scanned for the near net shape geometry and then positioned by a robot in a transport system that postprocesses (polishing, drilling) by a laser. By keeping focus on the entire process from conceptual outline of the product via product design, engineering and production planning to actual manufacturing and control of quality, the project contributes to the development of a versatile manufacturing process, suited for industrial production by SMEs of complex custom made metal (meso scale = order 10 mm) parts up to large volumes at high speed and still possibilities for one-of-a-kind production mode. The Hyproline manufacturing concept will be demonstrated by its pilot implementation for serial production of customized high quality meso parts for three different industrial sectors of (1) Jewelry (Cartier), (2) dental parts (Wisildent) and (3) microwave electronics (Micrometalsmiths, Flann)
The focus of proposed project is on the development of a new generation of flexible production lines with abilities to “adapt” to the specific requirements of a given component by combining innovatively the complementary capabilities of additive manufacturing, laser-based structuring with integrated process monitoring and metrology systems, and byadopting a modular approach in their design and implementation.
Objective 1: Develop a modular high speed, flexible production line comprising:
an automatic modular handling cell (pick & place, insertion robot, ..), - a continuous monitoring and inspection system, optimisation of individual line units/processes such as the layer manufacturing,
laser milling process, robustness and redundancy, accuracy: roughness below 3-5 μm, High speed 5,000 to 10,000 parts per day
Objective 2: System to produce parts with:
achieving cost and resources reductions in the range of 10 to 30 %, a layer manufacturing process optimised for the fabrication of metal parts (Ti, Cu, Stainless steel 316) with surface roughness, Rz, below 3-5 μm, dimensional accuracy 20 μm, and smallest feature sizes of 100 μm; A laser milling process optimised for machining features on top of pre-existing complex 3D geometry with dimensions in the range from 10 μm to 100 μm with a dimensional accuracy of 1-2 μm and surface roughness, Ra, better than 1 μm;
Objective 3: Evaluation of the production feasibility in a demo line in industry producing 3 type of parts (jewelry, dental, microwave electronics)

Project Results:
There has been progress in all major parts of Hyproline. On the technical side, a design for the new manufacturing system layout and EPS for Hyproline has been developed that guarantees a flexible input-output of the 3DP parts to be post processed by the laser. It comprises three consecutive steps and phases with increasing level of complexity. Phase 1 is testing of individual modules at different locations sending the parts around to be lasered in x-y mode, the second one is a high accuracy low speed system where the laser polishing is performed in a line scan fashion whereas the third phase is the high speed line scanning method including a loading and unloading station.
The 3DP parts from 316L have been printed with an improved 3DP system where the scrap production rate has been dramatically reduced by systematic investigation of common error types.
These parts are used as test parts through the complete Hyproline system.
The technical improvements have also lead to better accuracy when building small features.
Development work on laser processing (polishing) of near net shape metallic parts by varying the input laser fluency and scanning process parameters revealed a first set of processing window knowledge.
Simultaneous work on scanning metallic parts by varying the input scanning process parameters has produced valuable knowledge on the achievable kinds of pointclouds.
On the software side, there have been significant advancements, especially regarding the handling of large datasets from the scanners, geometric processing tools and on-line quality control.
Finally, to demonstrate the complete process chain, some successful demonstrators have been
selected in close cooperation with members of the external industrial board (2 companies).

Potential Impact:
The partners are confident that the Hyproline project will remove major technical barriers, which today are limiting the use of AM because of limited accuracy and product cost associated with the post processing steps. Some benefits of producing metallic parts made by Hyproline are listed below:
- Significant time savings: time-to-market (TTM) is a crucial competition parameter for SMEs.
- Producing innovative detailed metal products that are impossible to copy with existing manufacturing techniques thus reducing and combating counterfeiting
- Miniature and lightweight detailed metal components, which are increasingly needed in many
different branches, can be provided at lower cost
- Better quality, higher availability and adaptability of products (e.g. the micro heat exchanger)
- More freedom of design supports the trend that industrial design is a major competition parameter for European companies on the global market also for detailed metal parts
Even if for Hyproline we are talking small parts, they come in high numbers. This implies that the effect of material and weight saving of parts still can be considerable if the whole lifecycle of the Hyproline parts is taken into consideration. In this context, it is important to remember that raw materials used in an Additive Manufacturing process which feeds the Hyproline, are fully recyclable. If a component of Titanium weighs 50g, the net material consumption is around the same weight. This saves a lot of recycling of materials and equivalent CO2 emissions.

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Related information


Feenstra, Frits (Senior Project Manager)
Tel.: +31 88 866 53 72

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Record Number: 156485 / Last updated on: 2015-02-05
Information source: SESAM