Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

MANSYS Report Summary

Project ID: 609172
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - MANSYS (MANufacturing decision and supply chain management SYStem for additive manufacturing)

Executive Summary:
The ManSYS project successfully developed and demonstrated a set of e-supply chain tools to facilitate the mass adoption of Additive Manufacturing (AM). These tools will allow businesses to identify and determine the suitability of AM for metal products, and subsequently manage the currently recognised supply-chain issues. The e-supply chain solution developed provides a response to the production and challenges of new products offering a knowledge driven manufacturing process with significant benefits; customisation, automation, self-management and reduced material usage and waste.

The ManSYS partners worked together to develop three key elements:

1. Decision support software; Allowing end users/engineers to decide whether AM is applicable and/or what is required for adoption.
2. Supply Chain Management (SCM) system; Allowing for ‘easy’ adoption and management of AM production.
3. Facilitation of the Co-evolution of better or new products; User oriented high value added solution.

To achieve the objectives of the project and deliver the proposed solution an overall work plan strategy for the ManSYS project was defined. Each of the research, development and demonstration Work Packages along with their subsequent science and technology results are outlined within this document.

The ManSYS project developed website (http://www.mansys.info/) provides content concerning quality in metal AM across the value chain. The website provides an overview of the information generated within the ManSYS project concerning quality and links to relevant external sources which provide further information.

Project Context and Objectives:
The manufacture of metallic parts and components is typically undertaken using CNC machining for solid or casting processes, with a number of distinct steps sequentially removing material from a solid piece. While these methods are well established they are distinctly ‘non-ideal’. If you wish to manufacture customised or small production volumes of parts, then any design modifications after production has been established can be costly (i.e. tooling) therefore reducing the ability of companies to react efficiently to market trends.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) overcomes these inherent weaknesses, allowing creation of unique ‘one-offs’ and inspires new design concepts and solutions to be realised. AM or 3D printing creates three dimensional solid objects from a digital model, where the physical object is created by laying down (adding) successive layers of material.

To date there are numerous case-studies of ‘example’ parts which show distinct advantages over ‘traditional’ manufacturing approaches, for example in the aerospace industry non flight safety parts such as brackets and hangers. There are several dozens of these located in each aero engine and are used to restrain tubing, ducts, and wiring around the exterior of the engine. Weight and footprint reduction are key drivers for the aerospace industry and for every 100 pounds reduction in engine weight, approximately 0.1% reduction in specific fuel consumption can be achieved. This is where a number of benefits to utilising AM for the manufacture of these brackets come to the fore. These brackets are not the only parts on an engine, there are many similar load-carrying parts on the engine that, because they were designed for conventional manufacturing technologies, are not fully optimised for both performance and weight.

Another case study is in the dental industry for restoration applications. For example a dental bridge that is used to replace a missing teeth by joining an artificial tooth permanently to adjacent teeth or dental implants. Traditionally oral impression of the patients mouth is taken and sent to the dental laboratory, where a technician creates a plaster model and hand-carves a wax mould of how the repaired teeth will look, investment casts it, and adds a veneer. This is a labouring and inefficient process which takes a lot of time. In addition there is a high demand for precision individualised dental implants that are traditionally laboriously fabricated by high-skilled technicians. This requirement cannot always be met due to the shortage of highly skilled technicians. AM has the potential to take away the intensive nature of the process by simplifying the manufacturing steps. Also, many dental parts are made from expensive materials, so waste of raw material can be costly. AM can reduce costs through material savings because any remaining powder material can be recycled. Also the overall weight of the part can be reduced because material is only added where it needs to be.

Equally in the medical sector, implants such as intramedullary nails provide a good case study. These are an orthopaedic trauma product that is surgically inserted and fixed into the medullary cavity of the long bones in order to provide support to, and share loading with the bone after traumatic injury in order to aid healing. A typical nail product is produced by traditional reductive machining processes from solid bar stock. The manufacturing processes take place in a sequential manner as the product is a single part. The processes include, drilling, bending, milling and thread cutting to produce the raw part. Using AM has the potential to reduce a number of these steps allowing for an efficient approach that reduces production steps, lead time and cost. There are other benefits in production due to the smaller and more flexible batch sizes that are possible using AM. For example, instead of producing and keeping stock of large quantities of products, AM enables more flexible on-demand driven production.

While AM has a number of distinct benefits, one of the critical drawbacks is that quality assurance (QA) is very difficult to assure during manufacture as the process only involves 2-3 physical steps, compared to many for machining processes.

Most manufacturers outsource some or all of their manufacturing operations to third-parties specialists (mostly SMEs) on a global basis. This allows them to realise cost advantages and open new markets but not without complications, e.g. most delays in aircraft production come from problems with external suppliers. Extended supply networks with supply chain sub-processes create substantial obstacles in terms of supply chain visibility and coordination, especially when it comes to new emerging technologies like AM.

ManSYS aimed to overcome all these obstacles by developing and demonstrating

“A complete decision making system and robust supply chain management system for metal AM manufacturing; enabling the production and delivery of quality assured, highly customised products and services”

In order to achieve these aims the ManSYS project set a number of distinct objectives:

PLANNING

1.Decision making tool for metal AM parts

Development of a knowledge based approach for deciding the applicability and effective use of AM as a viable production route. To decide when AM can be used effectively, data needs to be available for designers/engineers so that they may make decisions about manufacturing. This will result into a design support tool that could increase effectiveness of the design process by access to information and ‘rules’ for AM and support decision making. For direct part production by AM, new tools are needed that can optimise both shape and material properties and subsequently optimise reductions in material and weight.

Quantified Objectives:

a.Demonstrate the decision making tool using designers/engineers with no background/experience with AM.
b.Performance increase up to 50% on the uptake of AM by reducing the time that takes engineers/designers to consider the AM process and the manufacturing engineer to make the final decision.

Month of Completion: Month 24

2.E-supply chain model(s) for AM

The concept of ManSYS represents an integrated supply chain network, where a group of independent companies (SMEs and LEs), often located in different countries, form a strategic alliance with the common goal of designing, manufacturing and delivering products fast and of high value. For the concept to succeed in a global environment it must be flexible enough to adapt to changes in the global market, able to meet regulatory and other country-specific constraints, effective and efficient. ManSYS looks to develop a network with knowledge based tools and approaches for selection of manufacturing methods, and for drafting the optimal supply chain based on selection criteria and validation of various options.

Quantified Objectives:

a.Cost savings of around 30% in production due to improved scheduling and use of AM, overcoming mould production costs for smaller series.
b.Higher reactivity to customer needs as result of real time adaptable business approaches increasing the number of customer demands for the participants in the virtual enterprise by 50%.
c.Robust e- supply network delivering optimal supply chain choices in 100% of the cases.
d.Manufacturing selecting which is more environment-friendly at global scale, due to the increased selection of AM (no waste manufacturing) in > 25% of the cases.

Month of Completion: Month 24

TECHNOLOGY

3.Supply Chain Management Software for AM across multiple sites/locations

Supply Chain Management software for AM refers to software that supports specific segments of the supply chain and in this case it refers to the ‘backbone’ of ManSYS, focussing on AM production planning, data preparation and finishing. It will improve decision making, optimisation and analysis for the performance of such systems for AM machines located in different countries.

Quantified Objectives:

a.Allow communication of AM systems from different countries via internet and creation of a digital interface for the exchange of information.
b.Demonstration of Supply Chain Management software for the manufacturing of at least 3 example CAD models one supplied by each End-User, using AM production systems located in UK, France and Spain.

Month of Completion: Month 30

4.SLM and EBM machine Qualification

Develop a methodology for characterising and transferring production and build ‘quality’ across AM machines. For a global business approach to succeed the need for multiple suppliers and sub-process is essential. In AM, one of the critical links in the supply chain is the equipment. All AM machine suppliers claim to process the same materials achieving high mechanical properties, but with the lack of AM standards and the constant advancements of AM hardware it is impossible to transfer production across two SLM or EBM machines without any disruption. Streamlining these processes can help achieve greater uptake of AM.

Quantified Objectives:

a.Machine qualification standards increased machine-to-machine and part-to-part repeatability.
b.Production of three demonstrator components on the five different AM machines available within the consortium and check the resultant part against the end user requirements.

Month of Completion: Month 24

5.Post processing protocols for metal AM parts

Development and characterisation of post-processing needed to ensure SLM and EBM parts comply with industry standards. Metal parts produced using AM technologies often demonstrate properties that are quite different from conventional wrought or cast metals. This has proven to be the one of the biggest barriers to widespread adoption of the technology. Currently, there are no specific industry standards for these materials hence the importance of specifying SLM material properties and post-processing (i.e. heat treatment and machining) required to comply with European and International standards.

Quantified Objectives:

a.Definition of SLM and EBM processed Ti6Al4V in terms of mechanical strength, tensile properties, fatigue and accuracy according to industry standards.
b.Improvement on mechanical properties using the post processing protocols developed in ManSYS.

Month of Completion: Month 24

DEMONSTRATION AND VALIDATION

6.Demonstration of optimised part creation and robust supply chain

Each End-User has stipulated example demonstrators and identified performance targets for the MANSYS concept. Thus the following quantified objectives are for the final parts suggested which will be manufactured and tested to achieve this objective.

Quantified Objectives:

a.Smith & Nephew:

•Reduced cost (min. 30%) via reduced manufacturing time and raw material.
•Design flexibility-increased performance, high value product only achievable by metal AM.

b.Wisildent:

•Reduced cost (>50%) via reduced manufacturing time (>60%) and raw material.

c.GE :

•Design flexibility-increased performance and reduction in component weight (>40%)
•Reduced cost via reduced manufacturing time and raw material

Month of Completion: Month 36

In order to achieve these significant and challenging objectives the ManSYS consortium was carefully selected. Based on their expertise in the fields of machining, AM software development, automation, integration, production manufacture, supply chain management, and commercialisation and end use the following list of participants were chosen to participate in the ManSYS project: (see Table 1 - Appendix 1).

This consortium provided the necessary skills and expertise to develop the complete decision making system and robust supply chain management system for metal AM manufacturing. The industrial interest in the ManSYS concept fell across three Industrial sectors: aerospace (GE) medical (SN) and dental (WIS). The strong end user participation ensured commercial drive and focus in the development and demonstration phases of the project. There was also a strong SME focus (BCT, LPW and POL) bringing key enabling technologies, demonstrators, technical expertise and supply post project. These were all supported by a large organisation offering their expertise in AM software development (MAT) and the large research and development organisations (TWI and AIM) alongside one University (TNO).

Project Results:

The ManSYS project successfully developed and demonstrated a set of e-supply chain tools to facilitate the mass adoption of AM. To achieve the objectives of the project and deliver the proposed solution an overall work plan strategy for the ManSYS project was defined in the form of a Pert diagram (see Figure 1 - Appendix 1).

There were 3 key phases to the work plan, which are outlined below:

1.Decision making process for AM.
2.ManSYS Supply Chain Management tool integration.
3.Demonstration (concept and components including validation).

Phase 1: Decision making process for AM:

During Phase 1 a full assessment of existing supply chains and of the demonstrators targeted by the end users for validation in ManSYS was undertaken. This included detailed specification requirements for the proposed AM supply chain model as well as the manufacturing strategy for implementing the ManSYS developed AM design rules.

In order to demonstrate success during this phase the pre-defined milestone ‘MS1 ManSYS specification defined’ was realised and successfully reported.

Phase 2: ManSYS Supply chain management tool integration:

Phase 2 of the work programme was dedicated to the advancement of the end users and manufacturing service providers. Based on the end user requirements and demonstrator performance targets, the end users (GE, WIS, SN) modified their supply chain models in order to incorporate the ManSYS approach.

In order to demonstrate success during this phase the pre-defined milestones were realised and successfully reported/carried out during the project:

•MS3 - Demonstration of design optimisation software tool for AM.
•MS5 - Modelling results of the ManSYS tool showing improved performance and sustainability.

Phase 3: Demonstration (concept and components including validation):

This phase was the final culmination of activities in the project and successfully demonstrated the developed modules for metal AM and production of demonstrators for validation. This involved the ‘delivery of user orientated products via the ManSYS platform. This phase was successfully demonstrated live at the final ManSYS review meeting at POL (AM service bureau). This included the live demonstration of the ManSYS platform by each of the end users (WIS, GE, SN).

In order to demonstrate success during this phase the pre-defined milestone ‘MS6 Demonstrators for testing produced to specifications’ was realised and successfully reported/carried out during the project.

As shown in the Pert diagram the project was split into 9 Work Packages. Each of the research, development and demonstration Work Packages along with their subsequent science and technology results are outlined in the following sections.

WORK PACKAGE 2: ManSYS Supply Chain Network Development

Start month: Month 1
Schedule Completion: Month 24
Status: Complete

Introduction and Objectives

This WP was responsible for the ManSYS architecture requirements and the specification of different modules for the supply chain sub-systems in order to complete the AM supply chain and ultimately integrate the customer.

Specific Activity and Outputs

•Specification of the ManSYS system/supply chain network.
•Research methodology for the ManSYS system including its operation and guidelines.

Key Technical Achievements and Progress beyond the current state-of-the-art

As part of Task 2.1, the ManSYS project generated a detailed document that contained a description of what the end user requirements (WIS, GE, SN) were. This document constituted D2.1 and included information relating to possible candidate case study components that were suitable for AM manufacture along with their target functional and performance requirements. The information was retrieved via intensive interviews with all three end-users to understand their requirements. The interviews were structured around the proposed concept of the ManSYS platform in order to match their expectations. The information was subsequently condensed into a set of functional requirements and. Supply chain requirements were also captured as part of the activity.

The proposed case study components focused around three key industry sectors:

1.Aerospace: A GE bracket used to restrain tubing, ducts and wiring around the exterior of an aircraft engine.
2.Medical: A SN intramedullary nail used for fracture fixation in long bones such as the femur.
3.Dental: A WIS dental bridge used for bridging the gap between missing teeth.

In order to understand the specification requirements of the supply chain network, along with an implementation methodology for the supply chain partners (Task 2.3) the functional requirements that the platform will fulfil was outlined. These functional requirements were required for input into WP7, D7.1: “List of requirements for the ManSYS software tool” and D7.2: “User interface for the ManSYS tool”. Specification requirements generated from parallel tasks from WP3, 4 and 5 were also taken into consideration.

Based on these developments, the project outlined a workflow with the ManSYS platform as the interface between the service bureaus and the end-users. The implementation methodology focussed on the risks which were categorised into technical, organisational and market. This information was then ranked by the consortium. This first overview of these project risks were used as a reference point for WP6, Task 6.1 ‘risk identification and categorisation’. Furthermore the ranking was used as an input for developing the implementation plan. Deliverable D2.2 focusses on detailing the functional workflow description and implementation methodology. Relevant steps of the workflow included; material production, product design, optimisation of design, selection of material and production method, and finally production and delivery of the product. All these steps were determined, along with how they can be (virtually) executed.

The main activity of Task 2.3 was the approach taken for the development of the ManSYS services as defined by the end-user requirements and definitions identified in Task 2.1 and Task 2.2. The main deliverable of this task constituted D2.3 “integrated supply network architecture based on full process description and information flows of all partners involved in the supply chain”. In order to achieve this deliverable, an extensive use-case research activity involving all partners which showed at a detailed level how the supply chain management tool can interact between actors was undertaken. Together with a proposal of the IT landscape, a basis was formed for the realisation of the IT infrastructure. Subsequently, research was carried out on how ManSYS can be implemented. This included an implementation methodology and elaboration of how ManSYS could be supported. Subsequently, a conceptual design was made of the decision making tool. The results of this deliverable were fed into WP7.

A discrete event simulation (DES) tool and associated user manual was developed in Task 2.4. This tool is able to test the industrial performance of powder bed technology where machine and process parameters can be chosen according to customer and product requirements. The simulation tool developed by BER was based on Embarcadero Delphi 14.0. In more detail, the tool developed allows existing service bureaus associated with the platform to define optimal service levels based on simulation. New service bureaus which want to enter the platform, can utilise the virtual factory prediction to optimise the lay-out of the factory. Figure 2 (see Appendix 1) provides a schematic overview of the DES process. The DES tool is available via the project website (http://www.mansys.info/).

Key Highlights

•End user and supply chain specification requirements outlined
•Integrated supply network architecture description fully defined
•DES software tool developed and piloted (available via http://www.mansys.info/)

WORK PACKAGE 3: Standards, Formats & Interfaces

Start month: Month 6
Schedule Completion: Month 36
Status: Complete

Introduction and Objectives

The overall objective of WP3 was to contribute to a European standard for Additive Manufacturing.

Specific Activity and Outputs

•Identified and established requirements and needs for Standardisation and Quality Management for ManSYS.
•Consideration of the AM automation system and AM process validation.
•Contribution to a European standard for Additive Manufacturing.
•Prepared a background structure for a European Standard for standards, formats and interfaces.

Key Technical Achievements and Progress beyond current state-of-the-art

Task 3.1 focussed on the requirements for standardisation and quality management for the ManSYS concept which subsequently fed into deliverable D3.1. The deliverable describes the Quality Management and the Standardisation requirements of the ManSYS demonstrator companies (GE, SN and WIS). Information exchange relating to the ManSYS demonstrators including information relating to actual workflow issues, views on the AM market, needs for and the probable effects of standardisation of formats and interfaces were included. Particular attention was paid to the AM Automation and the Control system that would be managed via Streamics through ManSYS and of the AM Process Validation. Automation and Control of the AM system are interlinked and were therefore regarded as one item (data exchange) within the scope of the deliverable, WP and project.

Extensive research on current international standards for testing and analysis in relation to AM was undertaken as part of Task 3.2. The activities concluded the critical standardisation and quality management issues for making AM a mature technology for medical, dental and aeronautical applications. The main requirements for quality management and standardisation found were related to the quality of the design file, assurance of AM process repeatability, raw material specification and validation. The outputs of which were used for setting the priorities in D3.2 “Technical Specification or a Technical report on AM standardization”.

For this WP the ManSYS partners investigated current international standards for testing and analysis as well as the applicability of existing standards in relation to the MANSYS objectives. The original DOW referred to coordination with STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data), which is used for data transfer standards. However, in the meantime a new and improved file format AMF (additive Manufacturing File format) had been introduced which had additional features. Therefore, in order to present the most up to date information in ManSYS, it was agreed the AMF would be incorporated rather than STEP in the assessment and evaluations.

Information generated in D3.2 was used in and further elaborated during Task 3.3 activities. As part of the task, TNO developed a technical report as a background structure for a European Standard. The focus was on Methods, Processes, Materials and Data processing. The resultant deliverable presents an update of existing (published) and elaborated standards for AM.

In reference to Mansys, the project reviewed and assessed the draft ISO/TC text for test artefacts and associates test sample production and measurement. By doing so the projected contributed to the preparation of an international Standard in this area. Information was exchanged between the ManSYS consortium by providing text suggestions based on actual metal test artefacts produced. TWI, AIM, and POL produced the test artefact on their AM equipment (see Figure 3 – Appendix 1) and provided subsequent details to TNO in reference to the samples produced including technical specifications of the equipment used. The resultant data was assessed by TNO (see Figure 4 – Appendix 1) and included within D3.3 which was an elaborated/updated and extended version of D3.2. Throughout WP3, TNO liaised with the ISO/ASTM F42 Joint working group for test artefacts. The content of the current ManSYS D3.3 contributes to and delivers a structure of the quality system.

Key Highlights

•The results from the ManSYS assessment were provided to ASTM F42/ISO TC 261, Joint Group F42 JG 52 (STAR) and will be discussed in their next meeting (Tokio, July 11th 2016).
•ManSYS’ contributed to the ISO EN standard are highly appreciated by ISO.
•A technical report as a background structure for a European Standard with focus on Methods, Processes, Materials and Data processing completed.

WORK PACKAGE 4: Design Optimisation

Start month: Month 2
Schedule Completion: Month 12
Status: Complete

Introduction and Objectives

WP4 aimed to analyse the target products/designs provided by the end users and look into their evolution/advancement using AM. Consideration to process parameters, support geometries, material properties, topology optimisation and post processing requirements were considered.

Specific Activity and Outputs

•Component optimisation to generate light weighting, functional and aesthetic improvements.
•Analysis of demonstrator components.
•Guide for optimum part orientation and support structure generation.

Key Technical Achievements and Progress beyond current state-of-the-art

Using the data generated in WP2 and in conjunction with input from end users (WIS, SN, GE) TWI used the computer aided design (CAD) software CATIA and the commercial finite element analysis (FEA) software Abaqus/CAE to re-design and optimise the demonstrator components both for function and for AM. TWI also used the Abaqus Topological Optimization Module (ATOM) for the optimization loops during which weight reduction, aesthetics, load bearing capacity and fatigue life of the component were studied. TWI also provided a detailed analysis of the peak stresses and manufacturability of the component. The results of this task, detailing the finite element analysis and optimised 3D geometry, were presented in Deliverable D4.1. This report also provided recommendations for design optimisation and relating guidelines for AM with contributions from MAT and AIM.

The steps undertaken for the design optimisation activities are shown in the Figure 5 (see Appendix 1).

The results in D4.1 concluded the guidelines for AM and the design optimisation of the ManSYS demonstrator components. The topology optimisation carried out by TWI of the GE Aviation jet engine bracket using different numerical algorithms and different target volumes achieved both 80% and 75% volume reductions whilst maintaining stress levels in the component below 75% of the yield stress, see Figure 6 – Appendix 1.

In terms of the SN nail approximately 25% weight reduction from the original design was achieved with all load bearing requirements met and nominal stresses 50% below yield. The design incorporated an internal lattice structure. For the WIS case study a dental implant was used that achieved approximately 70% weight reduction from the original design which also incorporated a lattice structure.

The AM technologies, Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Electron Beam Melting (EBM) were used in ManSYS. Different complex designs strategies and development of the complex geometries using these technologies for the demonstrators were outlined in Task 4.1. Complex structures built by SLM were also investigated by TWI using different designs of light weight unit cells. The results from compression testing conducted on the samples were promising for BCC-Z cell with 50% reduction.

The resultant activities were outlined in deliverable D4.2. The deliverable incudes a state of the art review for both SLM and EBM, including information relating to material developments, mechanical properties, surface finish and hardware (build platform and power source).

SLM and EBM technologies offer great design freedom. However, there are limitations to the processes. Therefore, AIM, MAT and TWI investigated part orientation and build strategies. This included optimisation of support structures and process parameters (laser power and scanning speed) to achieve minimum surface roughness and distortion. The resultant activities were outlined in deliverable D4.2.

From Task 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3, it was concluded part orientation strategy should be adopted when building complex parts by EBM or SLM, and finding the balance between factors such as critical surfaces, part features, build direction etc. is required. Once the part orientation is chosen, support optimisation can then be carried out. In terms of material development for complex structures produced by AM largely depends powder characteristics and process parameters. Therefore, to achieve close to 100% dense parts with ideal microstructure and acceptable surface finish there needs to be closer monitoring of these in the build chamber. Finally, in order to make the most of AM technology, there is a need for more education and awareness of ‘Design for AM’ and design for functionality within design teams of large OEMs.

Components produced by AM often require post processing to improve surface finish and mechanical properties. TWI along with AIM, BCT and POL addressed the standard operating procedures required for post-processing of Ti6Al4V AM parts specific to the project end users and their requirements. Information relating to methods which can be used to reduce or eliminate the residual stresses in Ti6Al4V AM parts were also developed. All the post-processing activities are discussed in detail in the resultant deliverable report D4.3. Results concluded in this task show that post processing processes such as heat treatment cycles and HIPing have a significant impact on the mechanical properties such as fatigue and impact strength of AM (EBM & SLM) components made in Ti6Al4V material. Current methods (online and post-process) for reducing or eliminating the residual stresses generated in AM components are still under investigation. As part of the investigation at TWI the pre-heated bed at high temperature and specific scanning strategy has shown positive results to limit the residual stress levels.

Key Highlights

•Detailed guidelines for design optimisation for AM were generated.
•The topology optimisation of the GE bracket, WIS dental bridge and SN nail was designed using different numerical algorithms and different target volumes.
•Both 80% and 75% volume reductions were obtained for the GE bracket whilst maintaining stress levels in the component below 75% of the yield stress.

WORK PACKAGE 5: Quality Assurance (QA)

Start month: Month 1
Schedule Completion:Month 12
Status: Complete

Introduction and Objectives

WP5 focussed on Quality Management investigation and coordination. Inherent in these requirements was the need to develop a process specification, which required the monitoring and control of raw materials, and process parameters with resultant mechanical properties, especially for highly regulated sectors, such as medical devices and aerospace applications.

Specific Activity and Outputs

•Validation of AM industrial architecture concepts (CAD/CAM data processing, virtual factory and post processing).
•Evaluation criteria for demonstrators – QA/QC system specification. Define QA/QC system to determine the necessary steps.
•Technology assessment criteria (material, testing, quality, etc.)

Key Technical Achievements and Progress beyond current state-of-the-art

In this work package the project partners defined a QA/QC system for the ManSYS AM-based manufacturing platform. The classification of the quality issues in relation to the demonstrators were carried out by conducting a survey among AM users from the biomedical and aerospace sectors, within and outside the consortium. By answering key questions relating to AM parts in terms of quality and what additional steps should be undertaken in the supply chain (e.g. post-processing, quality control, etc.) ensured that the parts to be produced and validated in ManSYS meet the desired requirements. The end users (WIS, GE, SN, TWO) expressed their opinion about the relevance of different aspects of quality in relation to their AM parts. The results of the analysis of the survey are offered in deliverable D5.1. The activities carried out in Task 5.1 were aimed at supporting the final design of the QA/QC system to be specified in D5.2.

A state of the art review was undertaken on existing in-line inspection systems for both EBM and SLM technologies. This included internal and external monitoring systems. The results outlined brought to light the applicability to the overall ManSYS system of which are fully detailed as part of D5.2.

Results of the recycling analysis conclude that if used Ti6Al4V powder is allowed; it is required to monitor the content by weight of Oxygen in ‘as built’ (bulk) material in order to avoid quality risks. This parameter should be considered as a critical element in the chemistry of the alloy and therefore, it shall be specified as one item to be controlled in a QA/QC. Morphological analysis of the powder reveals constant properties of the powder throughout consecutive builds. The obtained results clarify several aspects of EBM-processed material. From the point of view of metallurgical properties of Ti-6Al-4V, the influence of alloying elements is diverse. The evolution of all elements except the oxygen, carbon and aluminium is maintained constant during the builds. Aluminium is a very important constituent since it makes significant effect on the strength of material which is why it is quite relevant that it stays within the limits of the standard ASTM F2924.

The QA/QC was a major concern for the ManSYS platform. From the WP5 research, Quality templates for inclusion in the ManSYS tool were developed. The approach included having the material/process/component qualified by use of templates which are subsequently uploaded to the ManSYS platform for quality review. This included templates per work order and every step of the process (Figure 7 – Appendix 1) for:

a.Component requirements
b.Manufacturing Plan
c.Feedstock control
d.Bulk material
e.Component manufactured control

Key Highlights

•Results from the survey on AM quality issues showed surface quality and the ability to produce lightweight parts as the most relevant quality aspects. For mechanical properties, fatigue, tensile and flexural strength, modulus and elongation were regarded as important. For post processing steps machining and thermal treatment, in particular HIP, were regards as important. In terms of production capacities such as build envelope and maximum part size were marked as quite important.
•Results of the recycling analysis established that maximum levels of recyclability depend strongly on Oxygen content. Therefore, there is a requirement to monitor the content by weight of Oxygen in ‘as built’ (bulk) material in order to avoid quality risks.
•Development of QA/QC documentation for the ManSYS platform.

WORK PACKAGE 6: Robustness Modelling Assurance

Start month: Month 12
Schedule Completion: Month 24
Status: Complete

Introduction and Objectives

The activities in WP6 focussed on reducing the impact of the inability to deliver a supply part due to unexpected events in a complex supply chain such as MANSYS. Following the results from previous WPs contingency supply and use/approval of multiple suppliers in order to yield the best trade-off among cost, robustness, and reliability were considered.

Specific Activity and Outputs

•Computational results for the ManSYS approach documenting trade-offs among robustness, reliability, and cost.
•Risk analysis on the ManSYS concept and mitigation plan.

Key Technical Achievements and Progress beyond current state-of-the-art

Risk analysis was defined by rank and frequency of occurring risks identified in the ManSYS approach by the consortium members. The completed risk mitigation plan was divided into commercial, managerial and technical risks which have been outlined in D6.1.

In terms of eligibility criteria for suppliers to the ManSYS system are the domain of the end user as it is largely their own standards and needs that will be used to determine which suppliers are appropriate. However, the ManSYS platform would apply a small number of criteria to set a minimum requirement for entry as well as collecting sufficient information for end users to decide between suppliers using an RFI document. In addition the platform would aim to monitor overall supplier information in order to identify gaps where the platform can’t provide alternative suppliers to end users and where the platform is vulnerable because of lack of contingency and cost competition.

An investigation into the life cycle analysis of different AM systems relating to the environmental performance of the ManSYS approach was undertaken during this WP. In addition to a study of the cost and lead-time in order to determine gaps and highlight the sustainability of the technology. This resulted in an outline of the technical improvements needed for the overall sustainable performance of the AM technology. The activities carried out in this task constituted D6.3 with results highlighting the price per part per AM system for the SN demonstrator.

In order to drive the adoption of AM in the production of nails, the cost per part would need to be reduced. From the analysis, the single largest contributor to the cost of AM nails is machine time, contributing approximately 50-60% of the total cost. Therefore, it was perceived from this work the volume and occupancy of the build chamber is only a partially limiting factor for mass production using AM. As the capacity of the machines has been maximised, it is the rate of production that is limiting the price of the parts produced. To achieve improved production rates and a more competitive price, technical improvements such as systems containing multiple lasers should be adopted, further optimisation of layer thickness to reduce the number of layers required, or the introduction of two or more chamber systems to enable continuous production. In addition, increased process stability through online monitoring systems could be useful for improving productivity by reducing the number of failed batches experienced during manufacture. As an alternative/addition to the technical improvement of the systems and in common with the results determined in the Life Cycle Analysis, the production of nails may become more favourable as the price of powder falls. To a lesser degree labour costs may also fall as the systems become more reliable, reducing the effort and skill required for monitoring and troubleshooting. The continual improvement and automation of systems will drive the reduction in labour required. In addition to the potential production cost advantages described here for the mass production of medical devices, some industries may also benefit when manufacturing unique or customised products (e.g. dental devices) where the cost of tooling or processing may be prohibitive using conventional reductive techniques. Furthermore, even where AM production costs remain high, cost advantages gained through the PLC may outweigh this limitation (e.g. fuel saving from light weighting of aircraft parts).

Key Highlights

•The life cycle analysis was undertaken for the chosen ManSYS supply chain using the SN nail demonstrator.
•In order to drive the adoption of AM in the production of nails, the cost per part would need to be reduced.
•The LCA analysis shows the single largest contributor to the cost of AM nails as machine time, contributing approximately 50-60% of the total cost.
•To achieve improved production rates and a more competitive price, technical improvements such as systems containing multiple lasers should be adopted, further optimisation of layer thickness to reduce the number of layers required would be recommended

WORK PACKAGE 7: MANSYS system integration (streamics)

Start month: Month 12
Schedule Completion: Month 24
Status: Complete

Introduction and Objectives

The overall objective of this WP was to integrate the developments of WP2 (supply chain network), WP4 (design optimisation) and WP5 (quality assurance) in the ManSys software backbone. This WP brought all elements from WP2-5 together, and was therefore one of the core developments in the ManSys project.

Specific activity and outputs

•Implementation of an advanced user interface, which enabled third parties to use the supply chain network, decision making tool and technical features of the ManSYS system. The user interface allows design data upload, specific requirements concerning part and material quality and to provides intelligent feedback to the user.
•Implementation of a decision making tool which judges whether the part can be built with metal AM, and provides feedback to the user for design adaptations etc. Inputs for the tool are the design of the part and requirements from the user. This type of feedback makes co-evolution of products possible.
•Development of the software framework for the supply chain management.

Key Technical Achievements and Progress beyond current state-of-the-art

Tasks 7.1 and 7.2 focussed on the implementation of the decision making tool (see Figure 8 – Appendix 1) for metal AM. MAT implemented the decision making software as a partially integrated platform into ManSYS for automatic feedback to the user with respect to buildability, and partially in the Magics software from Materialise, such that the engineer working on the request from the customer (through the ManSYS platform) can satisfy the specific requirements of the user (i.e. indication of specific area where no support structures should be placed).

Task 7.3 developed a software tool which allows the engineer to orientate the part manually which enables an automatic colour map indicating areas that require support structures. The automatic part orientation tool allows the engineer to minimise the support criteria with respect to how the part will be oriented. Based on the requirements of the user, the engineer can choose which criterion receives priority. For example, when cost and build time are most important, minimal Z-height can be selected. Because these tools require the engineer to select the necessary criteria based on the end user requirements the tool was considered semi-automatic. Another feature developed by MAT is the automatic support generation. This is MAT designed new types of supports giving the engineer more freedom to satisfy the requirements of the end user. Different parameters can be set resulting in different support profiles. Based on the parameters set by the engineer, the generation of support happens automatically. Other features such as build risk analysis, where the risk of deformation due to thermal stresses can be realised; a copy orientation tool, able to indicate a master piece and copy its orientation to other parts on the same build platform and a volume and cost estimation tool able to estimate the volume of a part and of the support structure separately.

Task 7.4 was to develop the ManSYS supply chain management tool based on the current market solution Streamics. MAT developed the supply chain management tool with features such as tracking the quality of the production process throughout the whole build process and tracking the quality of the part throughout the AM processes. These features facilitate the standardisation of the processes.

Considering the requirements from the end user specification requirements set out in WP2 and the quality requirements set out in WP5, MAT integrated the supply chain management tool within the ManSYS web portal for the design optimization and ordering route (Figure 9 – Appendix 1). The developments of the Steamics software included the capability to monitor and log powder usage being used on a build, data monitoring and logging during a build and monitoring of the build parameters during the build process.

The result from this WP is a supply chain management tool, capable of handling customer requests (Figure 10 – Appendix 1) through the web portal with respect to the design optimization and ordering of a part. Upon optimising a design, the supply chain management tool fixes errors in the stl and tracks any changes made to the design performed in the Magics software. Upon ordering a part, the supply chain management tool provides full traceability of the part throughout the build process and allows follow up re quality of the part during the different steps in the AM process. This task constitutes deliverable D7.4.

Key Highlights

•The ManSYS decision making tool was successfully developed and integrated into the software to assist end users and engineers to make informed decisions about the suitability of AM.
•The ManSYS supply chain management tool was successfully developed and integrated into the backbone software (Streamcis).

WORK PACKAGE 8: System Demonstration & Validation

Start month: Month 24
Schedule Completion: Month 36
Status: Complete

Introduction and Objectives

The activity combined all selected technological solutions with suitable deployment mechanisms to enable the overall process concept.

Specific Activity and Outputs

•Validation of AM industrial architecture concepts
•Benchmarking of the ManSYS demonstrator performance and defined performance targets
•Manufacturing of demonstrators
•Validation process route and cost prediction in the manufacturing environment
•First article type inspection: cut up; mechanical and metallographic assessment
•Validation of cost analysis and virtual factory predictions

Key Technical Achievements Progress beyond current state-of-the-art

GE worked with the service bureaus (TWI, AIM and POL) to prepare a manufacturing plan for the 3 chosen demonstrator components. This was prepared in consultation with the end users (GE, WIS, SN) and the service providers (LPW, BCT, POL). The build plan was created based on the requirements of the end user, technology and quality specifications outlined in WPs 2, 3, 4 and 5 and the use of the ManSYS platform.

As part of the tasks the service bureaus (TWI, AIM, POL) collated information regarding the technology (SLM and EBM) used to manufacture the demonstrators. This data included information such as the cost, time and usage of material and energy consumed during the manufacture of the demonstrators. This was subsequently fed back to GE as the WPL for them to analyse and report the data. The data generated and analysed was documented in deliverable D8.1.

In parallel with Task 8.1 and as part of the manufacturing plan, LPW worked with the service bureaus (TWI, AIM, POL) to outline the requirements for the validation of the powder used to build the demonstrators. LPW tested the powder for each build cycle for morphology and chemical analysis. The results of which were successful in that the powder showed no obvious signs of defects or deterioration as a result of SLM and EBM processing. The resultant data is show in D8.2.

The validation plan for the demonstrator parts created by AM using the ManSYS supply chain network were undertaken during this task. The end user specification requirements from WP2 for testing and validation were used in this task, along with the post processing protocols outlined in Task 4.3 for the demonstrators. A key part of this task, in terms of validation, was the quality control and quality assurance best practice and tools developed in WP5 for use in the ManSYS network. These provide a link between the end users that interface with the ManSYS platform and the service providers as to ensure quality and approval of their AM produced components but also open dialogue regarding the manufacture of the components. The quality aspects included a technology assessment criteria, where a review of the mechanical and functional requirements of the component including requirements for material, post-processing and quality were included. It also included the manufacture and first article type inspection where details regarding actual manufacture, first article type inspection, powder analysis, bulk material and component results were outline.

Another part of this activity was the cost analysis and the virtual factory predications of the demonstrators. Here, BER run the ManSYS Discrete Event Simulation tool (DES) as per the developments in WP2 and the information generated in subsequent WPs. A simulation focussed on producing the GE bracket via a ManSYS type platform was outlined. The results from the simulation data show it would be inefficient to use a large AM machine for the production of the GE bracket in terms of production efficiency. The quantity of parts needed per unit of time is too low to justify using a larger size machine. In this scenario the machine has a high load factor. It runs nearly continuously and produces only one or two brackets per build, resulting in extended throughput times. The optimum solution is to use a relatively fast (and smaller) AM machine.

A strategic decision that can be made by a service bureau is how long to wait for orders before production commences. Starting production directly after the arrival of an order will result in the shortest possible lead time for that order. However, the AM machine is not available for other orders. By using a longer batching period the orders could be combined. The DES tool is capable of providing an insight into the consequences of this decision.

The response to the demand for the GE bracket by using one AM machine of a certain type is outlined above. However, most service bureaus have more than one machine. Therefore, the result of spreading the GE bracket orders over multiple machines was visualized. The load factor can be halved by dividing the demand over 2 machines instead of 1.

During the validation task, the business and environmental case as initially derived in D8.1 was enhanced. A top level business impact analysis for each end user, based on their own business case and targets were conducted. The key impacts for the demonstrators as a result of the ManSYS project include using the optimization tool analysis to achieve 75% weight reduction for the GE bracket. The supply chain analysis tool achieved 86% improvement in total purchase ordering and delivery period. The Decision Making Tool Analysis was able automated to include thin wall, size limitation and part error detection. The LCA concluded showed significant energy saving along with improved environmental impacts in fuel consumption and raw material waste. These equated to significant cost savings to each of the end users.

A full live demonstration of the ManSYS concept was given at the final ManSYS review meeting held at POL on 21 June 2016 in France. This involved a live demonstration from each of the end users (WIS, GE and SN) using front end of the ManSYS platform, POL as the service provider using the back bone to ManSYS (Streamics) and all the tools developed during ManSYS and final a simulation of the DES tool. The optimisation tool for the GE bracket was also demonstrated. The parts produced via the ManSYS systems were shown at the meeting.

Key Highlights

•All three demonstrators were successfully demonstrated live at the final review meeting using the ManSYS concept.
•The results for the GE bracket showed the most promising case for utilising AM and the ManSYS platform.
•The powder recycling results were successfully validated for each of the components.
•The business impacts for the GE bracket show demonstrated the benefits of using AM via the ManSYS platform.

Potential Impact:
Project impact

GE

It is critical in today’s conditions to manufacture a wider range of component groups through clean, environmentally-friendly and lean manufacturing methods with low CO2 emission and lower quantities of waste. It is expected to implement light-weight and innovative jet engine designs, thus manufacturing of environmentally-friendly jet engines with lower fuel consumption and less carbon footprint. In terms of the GE bracket it was important to decrease the weight of the bracket to achieve a lighter jet engine. GE had expectations from the ManSYS Project to achieve the maximum weight reduction for their demonstrator part with the primary result being to lower fuel consumption.

Through the topology optimisation of the bracket the ManSYS project was able to achieve a 75% weight reduction. The conventional bracket weights approximately 2000gr and after topology optimisation via the ManSYS platform, the bracket weighed around 500gr. This coupled with a reduction in fuel consumption per brackets shows an important business impact particularly when considering many of these brackets in one engine.

For the aerospace industry, even small amounts of weight reductions result in a significant amount of reduction in fuel consumption and carbon footprint. Due to this great advantage, the aerospace industry is one of the biggest adopters of AM technology. Putting innovative jet engine architectures into practice to increase the performance AM enables clean, environment-friendly and reduced CO2 footprint manufacturing.

As the number of components to be manufactured by AM technology increases it is not possible to open a facility for each part. GE will need for a robust supply chain. At this point, a ManSYS platform would play a significant role in efficient operation of the supply chain system. Also, the ManSYS concept for material and energy saving during manufacturing of the parts is in line with the carbon footprint policy of GE and other aerospace stakeholders.

The main economic drivers for GE are the reduced fuel consumption through reduction in the weight of jet engines, and the reduced jet engine cost with the use of lean AM processes. When calculating the economic impact of one bracket as produced in the ManSYS project, the reduction in fuel consumption is minimal (3.3 pound weight reduction corresponds with 0.003% less fuel consumption). However, each aircraft has 8 brackets, and as there are more parts like the bracket in each, the reduction of fuel consumption can quickly increase. It is estimated that the fuel nozzle which is produced in the Auburn facility, will deliver a staggering $1.6 million in fuel savings per airplane each year. This is a result of both the light-weight constructions due to the improved design made possible by AM.

S&N

S&N typically sell around 15,000-20,000 units of the nail annually across the range of sizes available. One of S&N’s expectations from the ManSYS Project was to achieve a reduction in raw material usage. The conventional manufactured nail required 350gr of Ti6-4ELI material to produce the component, with a raw material cost of 77€. However, by SLM production using the ManSYS concept, 110gr of powder is enough to build one nail which makes a cost of 24€. It is known that around 20,000 units of nail are sold annually, which makes approximately 1,060.000 € saving annually.

Following the manufacture of the nail a significant reduction in the number of primary manufacturing steps was also observed. Conventional manufacturing is lengthy and comprises at least 14 steps in primary manufacture. This is because conventional manufacture relies upon a number of subtractive processes (drilling, milling, turning, tapping, slotting) to produce the nail. Most of these steps are eliminated using the near net shape capability of AM.

The ManSYS approach has a clear advantage in its speed of production compared to conventional methods used by S&N. The speed of production and the possible flexible batch sizes play an important role in the medical arena. Product quality and product costs are also key.

Also the ManSYS approach, using AM technologies, provided a significant saving in volume of raw material required to produce each nail (2/3). A saving of 572.09 kg CO2/kg of product produced in raw material terms. Lastly, the manufacturing time is decreased significantly using AM, from 48 hours to 5 hours for the production of 1 batch of nails.

A cost competitive AM Nail could be achieved in the future as build speed further increases and material prices drop significantly. S&N will monitor future progress in AM technology and may return to ManSYS when it becomes cost effective for production

Wisildent

There are significant differences when approaching the polishing requirements for metal components produced with different technology such as lost wax casting and AM. This involves a length process involving the creation of the wax model, investment casting and finally polishing. In the lost wax technique the first step of polishing is upon opening of the investment casting. The first step of the process is to remove all the investment powder without modifying the anatomy. In this phase, the anatomy needs to be remodelled totally by hand. This can be a problem which is connected with the sensibility of the technician. In this phase it is impossible to create a standardised part, however this is completely differently for the AM technique where there is a possibility to standardise this phase.

In the AM technique there is no need to have all the first phases of the lost wax technique including the long phases of waiting for investment cooling, opening and removing of powder that also need the usage of a sandblasting machine. A second significant benefit is there is no need to remove the big pins (as in the casting) but to only polish the connection (supports during production). A third and significant difference is due to the granulometry of the AM production. If the powder has granulometry within 25 microns it is much easier for the polishing phases to obtain a “mirror” surface for the bridge and less effort is needed to refine the tooth due to the less steps of polishing with less tools. The powder distribution used in ManSYS was 15-45µm.

The bridge is made from cobalt chrome (CoCr). During the AM process, the metal will be sintered, which avoids the weakness and distortion that are characteristic of investment casting, resulting in stronger frameworks. The AM process of melting powder metals such as CoCr will also create full-density metal parts, eliminating the traditional wax/casting steps entirely. Medically certified for in situ use, the metal copings will serve their usual role as a base for porcelain coatings. The final result will be a fast, cost effective, high quality crown that requires minimal in-chair rework.

The market of dental bridges offers great possibility of expansion, due to the fact that nowadays patients are really paying attention to health issues and aesthetics. In fact there is less demand of removable prosthesis and also the prices are decreasing while the cost of production remains the same. Manufacturing steps of dental bridges are modelling, investment casting and sandblasting.

The business impact study in terms of cost and part production time was achieved according to the manufacturing process. It should be noted that the production of the demonstrator is an estimate based on the production in a research environment and not a commercial environment. Modelling and sandblasting steps are not involved in the ManSYS concept, therefore, only manufacturing methods were compared. The comparison of casting-AM deposition shows the process time reducing advantage of the project, which is 75% for the WIS part.

WIS indicated the architecture and set up of the ManSYS online platform (pilot version) as useful and perfectly useable for any end-user without any AM knowledge. Easy access and the clean user interface let most users within Wisildent understand how to manage the platform. The platform allows for a Dentist or Dental lab to receive multiple bids without having to solicit for them. The platform automatically obtains quotes from multiple suppliers increasing productivity. For example, using AM via the ManSYS platform ordering system reduced the production time for producing the dental element from 8 hours down to 2.5 hours. The current manufacturing process involves lost wax, investment casting, cooling of the production and final polishing, whereas the file was uploaded to the ManSYS Platform, received approval and AM production commenced in a small amount of time. Also the labour intensity required by WIS is significantly reduced by using the ManSYS platform, leading to operational benefits. Another operational benefit is the reduction and use of dangerous material (plaster powder, silica and melting fumes) and dangerous machinery (direct flames, casting machine, high temperature ovens) currently in use in the dental arena. The use of AM will lead to a reduction of risk of injuries for workers and will have a positive effect on premiums for insurance.

As the dental market is already used to the concept of distributed manufacturing, the positive effects of a quality assured dental platform will easily be reaped. Using conservative indications the acceptance of AM as a valid production method for crowns and bridges, and ordering parts via an online portal, could lead to productivity gains in Europe of approximately €187.5 million per year.

In summary, the results achieved from ManSYS for the demonstrator companies can be found in Table 2 – Appendix 1. Full details with reference to the cost analysis and life cycle analysis can be found in Deliverable 8.1 and Deliverable 6.3 respectively.

Project website

The project website is available at http://www.mansys.info. It allows the public dissemination of the ManSYS project and the controlled exchange of documents between beneficiaries via a secure login page. The ManSYS website is presented in D9.3. Regular updates on upcoming events were posted, and any completed public deliverables are added for download.

The website is structured as follows:

•Project overview: Describes the aims and objectives of the project and highlights the major milestones;
•Deliverables: An overview of the timings of the public deliverables. Once the deliverables are ready they can be downloaded from this area;
•Partners: This section provides a short introduction of the consortium and a direct link to their respective websites;
•Discussion: This part of the website is available for open discussion on topics pertinent to AM, in particular to the Mansys focus sectors (i.e. aerospace, medical, dental) and the aspects of quality assurance and quality control, which are paramount in this project;
•News & Events: Here the events are listed and where ManSYS partners can be found and contacted;
•Contacts: This gives contact information to ManSYS project management.

Dissemination

For communication purposes the following products were created as part of the ManSYS dissemination plan:

•Project website: The website provides an overview of the aims of the project, introduces the partners, presents public deliverables and highlights where ManSYS partners can be contacted. The website can be found at: http://www.mansys.info/
•Articles: A number of articles have been produced to service the ManSYS partners in order to quickly supply information on the project. This includes a one pager about the project and a more elaborated article. Translations in Spanish and Dutch have been used in a number of instances to support local audiences.
•The most recent article can be found at the ManSYS website: http://www.mansys.info/publish/pages/3768/mansys_building_a_platform_for_3dprinting.pdf;
•Presentations: Two versions of a PowerPoint presentation have been produced to support a seamless and standardised information flow during conferences and seminars. http://www.mansys.info/publish/pages/3768/mansys_general_project_presentation.pdf.
•Banners and flyers: To promote ManSYS at shows, banners and flyers have been produced. The flyers are printable in A5 format to meet local demand.
•Workshops: Various ManSYS workshops have been run which were a major source of information for the acceptance and requirements of a ManSYS platform. An elaborated description, reflection and evaluation of the ManSYS workshops can be found in deliverable D9.6.
•Papers: Several partners have published technical papers, discussing specific aspects of the ManSYS results. These will enrich dissemination of research results.

In the first 24 months of the project a large number of presentations were provided by various ManSYS partners at shows both in Europe and outside of Europe. In short the partners have provided 44 presentations and workshops mainly across Europe, (including ROW), and 2 presentations outside of Europe.

A number of technical workshop were arranged. The workshops were organised with the attendance of stakeholders and end users of the ManSYS project achievements. To reach this, the workshop was given at several industry specific events. As an interactive session during an AM or Industry related conference, the workshop enabled the possibility to evaluate the reactions, tips and demands of the expert audience. This resulted in valuable insights that where incorporated in the final guidance documents which forms part of the final PUDF (namely D9.7a and D9.7b).
The technical workshops followed the path of the ManSYS demonstrators during the workflow and had a real-life link to the backbone system developed in the project. The uploading of the part, the production parameter setting and the selection and decision process from the viewpoint of the user in a live environment was provided. Deep dives into the technical and operational choices made and research behind the set-up of the workflow were discussed.

Exploitable Result

The ManSYS Project delivered a large number of exploitable results. The results are listed in Deliverables D9.5 and D9.7c. The ManSYS project has brought a wealth of operational insights and tangible practices to the consortium partners.

Most of the exploitable results are knowledge based and have become part of the day to day practice of the project participants. Aspects such as ‘deep understanding of the standardisation and validation processes’ or ‘practical tools for designing the workflow for 3D printed parts’, are less tangible in terms of quantifiable gains such as market share, extra €’s in sales or cost reductions in the production and delivery process. Nevertheless, some quantitative results have been obtained which can be related to the economic return on investments made in this project.

Materialise is already active in the field of AM targeted supply chain management concepts. Typically the license fee for a software application in this arena is €2000 per year. The well-known Wohlers report estimates the total market for AM supply chain management software to be €1.6 billion, meaning a total volume of 800,000 licenses.

Another area of applications Materialise caters to is the field of design optimisation and verification software. Licenses in that arena are typically between €8500 to €15000 per year. The ManSYS developments would need considerable extra investments to deliver a marketable design optimization or verification tool. For this part of the market Wohlers estimates a market size of €300-450 million.

The ManSYS findings which will be used by Materialise will help keeping the average license fee at €2000. A specific share in the price stability factor for ManSYS cannot be determined, as its outcomes are only part of a far larger range of software improvements that Materialise launches every year.

BCT has gained advancement of knowledge related to requirements for post-processing of AM manufactured parts. Within BCT's software package (OpenARMS), the inspection and metrology functionality related to post-processing of AM made parts is improved based on ManSYS results
BCT estimates the market for consulting and piloting on post processing to be approximately €3 million in Germany. Typically this entails larger project in the € 50 – 100K. Share of ManSYS impact is hard to determine. Cad/Cam vendors are competitors in this market.

The design for AM Guidelines that take into account Manufacturing Constraints, which were delivered in the ManSYS project were part of the knowledge base of TWI. Customers of this knowledge will be TWI Industrial Members (including the extensive Aerospace Industry Sector as well as the oil & gas, power generation, automotive and medical industrial members)

The market size for this knowledge is hard to indicate as it is bundled knowledge within the realm of expertise of TWI. In soft terms, the value added through knowledge of new design optimisation and design-for-AM guidelines will boost TWI reputation and is anticipated to help increase income on design-for-AM projects by at least 5% year-on-year.

The design guidelines help minimize the number of design iterations required and improve communication through increased knowledge of the requirements of manufacturing and design end users. In more generic terms, the return on investment of the guidelines is a positive effect on the efficiency of communication between simulation and manufacturing departments at TWI and in other companies that will use this public deliverable of the ManSYS project.

The additional insights gained on workflow architecture, discrete event simulation and AM quality standards all help substantiate the expert position Berenschot (BER) has in the AM consulting arena. AM consulting projects normally cover a wide range of aspects, in which the elements above play an intricate role. The ManSYS results are thus helpful to keep and further develop the added value position of BER in the European market. As such a 5 to 10 % increase in economic value of the practice can be estimated (€50-200K on an annual basis related to the generic growth of the business).

Market sizes for AM consulting are hard to predict. The Wohlers report estimates the AM services segment to be €1.3 billion in 2015, up from €1.0 billion in 2014. This market covers all services and service providers, including material delivery, manufacturing, post processing etc., which require capital investments in goods, machines and materials. Strategic and business consulting is only a very small portion of that market.

List of Websites:
http://www.mansys.info/

Related information

Reported by

TWI LIMITED
United Kingdom
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