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Development of a Machine for Multi-Material Manufacturing

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - 4M (Development of a Machine for Multi-Material Manufacturing)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2017-06-30

The main goal of this project is the development of an industrial “plug & play” system for additive layer manufacturing which is based on a blown powder process using Plasma Transferred Arc (PTA) Technology.
The 4M system (Machine for Multi-Material Manufacturing) will offer:
a) Simple equipment concept based on well established PTA technology for hard facing coatings
b) A Technology which allows to realize Multi-Material concepts
c) Suitability of the technology to be used for a wide range of raw materials
d) High deposition/building rates
e) Possibility to realize large size components
Within the first reporting period a prototype system based on a plasma arc technology was set up. The overall platform area covers 1,5 m x 1,8 m and the system includes 5 axes. The system is operated by a plasma arc system which is equipped with two powder feeding units.

After the setup of the system, the process technology is now under development. It was possible to manufacture Titanium alloys with properties compared to state of the art materials. Additional materials such as Aluminium alloys and tests for manufacturing of parts made from a composite materials have been performed.

Besides the investigation of processing parameters for the different materials and upgrading of the system (including of oxygen level sensor/monitoring) a test plan was established for both, material testing at sample level but also testing of the demonstrators. 3 different demonstrators have been identified and different designs have been assessed.

In addition to that a website was established (www.think-additive.com) and the activities have been presented at different workshops and fairs including the Hannover fair.
a) The available 4M system for additive manufacturing represents the largest system to date available in Austria and meanwhile attracted the interest of the local companies.
b) We had meetings at the Hannover FAir with large industrial companies
c) The availability of the prototype system allows us to attract the interest of one of the Large System Integrators
d) With the developed technology we were able to respond to an open tender of ESA on large titanium parts
"Image shows the prototype of the ""4M-System""; Machine for Multi-Material Manufacturing"