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Industrial and regional valorization of FoF Additive Manufacturing Projects

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FoFAM (Industrial and regional valorization of FoF Additive Manufacturing Projects)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Additive manufacturing (AM) has been highlighted as a key technology with potential for creating sustainable high value European based employment, addressing societal issues and supporting environmental sustainability. The processes based on AM spans many industries, including automotive, medical, aeronautics, defense, capital and consumer goods, energy, etc. Moreover, AM has demonstrated to possess the capability to generate future revenues, to develop novel disruptive business models, not seen up to date, that could help to keep manufacturing in Europe competing with emergent countries.

All those are heavyweight reasons for Europe to make specific efforts to define a plan of action in the field. FoFAM project takes up the challenge of reviewing the AM ecosystem and clustering developments on AM technologies to develop a strategy to ensure industrial deployment. The final aim is to put the first steps for a plan of action in the field by designing an effective roadmap and facilitating interaction of players.

For a complete success strategy not only technology stakeholders but also policy makers at European level but more importantly at regional level should also be involved. In this sense, the project includes the involvement of European regions to ensure an efficient use of structural funds associated to them. Effective cross-sectorial and cross-regional interactions are pursued by promoting alliances in alignment with the smart specialisation strategies of European regions. FoFAM also enables the integration of AM key outcomes from projects under the PPP Factories of the future (FoF) by promoting synergies and identifying appropriate mechanisms to stimulate exploitation and coordination among all key actors.
Project activity focus on market analysis, mapping of the Additive Manufacturing (AM) landscape and road mapping actions. A technology surveillance and forecast of AM across Europe was carried out in order to identify key sectors where the implementation of these technologies have a major economic and societal impact in Europe. After evaluation of the potential for future growth, health, aerospace, automotive and consumer goods (including electronics) sectors were down-selected.

An electronic database-clustering tool was created on the AM-platform website (www.rm-platform.com) containing information on main projects outputs, regional expertise and actors on the field. The idea is that it serves as a tool that facilitates mapping of AM capabilities and expertise, networking and identification of possible synergies, complementariness and constraints within the market-driven value chains on the sectors previously selected. Moreover, a solid stakeholder’s network was created. This network allows connections and to improve interactions, communication and exploitation around sectorial Value chains.

An AM roadmap was designed with the aim to offer a strategy for building the fundamental knowledge and actions necessary to accelerate the design, application and implementation in the market of AM. It reflects the opportunities and market trends identified, in combination with the AM related technologies capabilities and enablers localised within the projects and the EU regions. For each of selected sectors, a value chain (VC) approach was followed to find the gaps preventing complete market deployment and proposed the corresponding needed actions. The appropriate timeline in which the gaps should be addressed is also indicated considering the following: Short term: 2017-2020, Medium: 2020 – 2025 and Long: 2025 - beyond. The actions proposed are classified in two groups:
-Cross-cutting actions relevant to all sectorial value chains, responding both to techno-logical and non-technological gaps
-Actions specific to a particular value chain, addressing both technological and non-technological (i.e. standardisation, education, IP...) gaps
A list of key AM projects with details on exploitable results is included.
This roadmap will facilitate to establish a common vision and actions’ alignment around the different challenges and the existing project exploitable results and regional interests, and to drive stakeholders' time phased R&I strategy.
Standardisation, IPRs and Education frameworks with regards AM were reviewed. Moreover, key bodies with regards those aspects, the services offered and best practices coming from projects and regions analysed.
Europe possesses extensive potential to become a leader in the development and adoption of Additive Manufacturing technologies. There are currently word-class European machine builders, materials providers, service bureaus, etc. operating a global level along with reputable universities and technology centers. However, European AM Community act in a disaggregated manner, resulting in inefficiencies preventing the necessary interactions across the wide range of applications, manufacturing sectors and borders. Hence, Europe would benefit from a strategic approach bringing a common direction and goals.

FoFAM project goes beyond the state of the art taken the first steps towards developing a strategy in AM, from which unexploited project results and knowledge can benefit. It is based on a comprehensive review if recent developments in AM across several value chains on relevant industrials sectors and design effective interaction among key players. Up to date, these value chains have not been specifically addresses, which has hindered a complete alignment of developments and markets in the field.

The activities of this project have short term and longer term impacts. The short-term impact is related to the completion of the sectorial value chains will allow projects, regions, stakeholders to place their developments, results, needs and capabilities with a sector/application target as well as to know what type of partners they need to complement their expertise, facilitating possible partnership and alliances. Project outcomes help mapping the additive manufacturing ecosystem around specific key sectors for Europe, and the related regional policies, lowering the entry barriers for newcomers, and raising awareness of existing capabilities and knowledge to stimulate market uptake.

On a longer term, impact is through the development of a roadmap by identifying together strategic priorities and identified obstacles as a common vision and strategy that maximise the knowledge-based and business development potential of Europe. The roadmap will contain specific actions to overcome or minimize the existing barriers, including those going beyond technology that can also hinder AM commercialisation (i.e standardisation, education, IPRs…).

Both actions help preventing fragmentation and duplication of efforts, providing a path to market uptake by connecting and expanding existing knowledge and infrastructure, improving the conditions for exploitation, cross-regional demonstration and deployment.
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