Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: Multi-material design of components and structures provides an opportunity to develop products which are able to operate under more exigent requests demanded by market and society such as increased strength-to-weight ratio, multi-functionality, highly aggressive environments and low carbon footprint. By smart use of adequate joining technologies, and the incorporation of multi-material design into the assembly chain, the final product performance can be improved. This is particularly relevant when high cost, scarce or hazardous materials are involved.

Scope: Traditional joining leads to loss of the performance that materials offer in their final product, because of modifications in composition and properties or geometric distortion. Improved, new or hybrid joining and assembly processes are therefore needed to be developed for specific combinations of designs and materials, in combination with flexible and automated non-destructive inspection technologies, in order to overcome the mentioned limitations. Technologies to be addressed can be welding processes, bonding using adhesives, mechanical joining or any other joining process. The novel joining integration capabilities will feature a high degree of process automation and quality control and they will make use of sustainable manufacturing practises. Assembly and disassembly efficiency, product quality, recycling and cost targets will also be considered. While the focus will be on demonstrating the technologies, R&D activities supporting the integration and scale-up are expected as well.

Demonstration activities should focus on all of the following priorities:

-                      Joining and assembly processes that will lead to improved performance of the joints for real operating conditions, and facilitate recycling, based on a deep understanding of the cause-effect relationships as well as of materials process interactions.

-                      The implementation of numerical simulation techniques, including computational multi-scale modelling, which will lead to a better understanding of the considered joining processes as well as product development along all its different phases.

-                      The development of high efficient, cost-effective and flexible surface condition solutions (e.g. surface modification, thermal treatments, gap avoidance) to provide joints with the maximum performance.

-                      The implementation and set up of reliable, efficient and automated non-destructive inspection techniques for joint quality evaluation, together with in-situ monitoring and control systems for critical variables of the joining operations that will guarantee reliable, robust and safe production conditions in industrial environments.

At least one prototype or pilot implementation in pre-industrial settings aiming at demonstrating the scalability should be delivered before the end of the project as a proof of concept.

For this topic, proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation and business plans, which will be developed further in the proposed project.

Wherever possible, proposers could actively seek synergies, including possibilities for funding, with relevant national / regional research and innovation programmes and/or cumulative funding with European Structural and Investment Funds in connection with smart specialisation strategies. For this purpose the tools provided by the Smart Specialization Platform, Eye@RIS3 may be useful[1].  The initial exploitation and business plans will address such synergies and/or additional funding. Exploitation plans, outline financial arrangements and any follow-up will be developed further during the project. The results of these activities as well as the envisaged further activities in this respect should be described in the final report of the project.

Activities expected to focus on Technology Readiness Level 5-7. A significant participation of SMEs with R&D capabilities is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 4 and 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

Application of multi-material design to products through the developed joining and assembly processes will bring:

·                At least 20% decrease in the consumption of high cost and critical materials.

·                At least 30% improvement of the product performance, without increasing the final price.

·                A higher level of automation and lower production times compared to current technologies.

Type of action: Innovation Actions.

[1]; the relevant Managing Authorities can be found at</p>

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