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Driving up Reliability and Efficiency of Additive Manufacturing

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DREAM (Driving up Reliability and Efficiency of Additive Manufacturing)

Período documentado: 2018-04-01 hasta 2019-12-31

DREAM stands for “Driving up Reliability and Efficiency of Additive Manufacturing” and it was funded under Horizon 2020 Factories of the Future Initiative with an EU contribution of more than 3,2 millions of euros to implement a disruptive photonics technology to enable the 4th Industrial revolution through the implementation of laser-based metal Additive Manufacturing.

The specific aim of DREAM was to significantly improve the performances of laser Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) of titanium, aluminium and steel components in the following terms: weight reduction, production speed increase, material cost reduction, process productivity increase and fatigue test increase with a sustainable Life Cycle Approach. In addition, DREAM targeted the detection and removal of contaminants from raw powders for PBF.

The reduction of part weight has been fully achieved for all the user cases, and consequently material cost has been effectively moderated below the target. Impressive outcomes were obtained for productivity and production speed, well above the set goals. The same is true for fatigue strength, thanks to a successful combination of the actions on powder purity and on process control. As for the quantification of cross-contamination, the project led to the proposal of a robust statistical procedure that could be easily implemented into an in-line quality control system, as well as proposed to standardization committees. At present, the approach is being patented.

Through innovations in part modelling, materials and additive processing, DREAM added competitiveness at all steps of the manufacturing chain, so that each of the Consortium partners benefited from a reinforced industrial leadership, consisting in the offer of: more efficient additive manufacturing systems; optimized on-demand services for the production of cost-effective component, novel engineering design services combining topology optimization and design; more lightweight and reliable products.

The environmental impact of the DREAM project relied in fostering the widespread use of a manufacturing process that is clean, environment-friendly and cost-competitive. DREAM also contributed in minimizing waste, the use of hazardous substances and resource consumption.
DREAM brought about a decrease in the use of many resources: raw material, cutting fluids, installed power in the workshop, energy.

In terms of society, DREAM project will benefit employment growth and promote a healthy competitiveness in the EU area, as AM influences numerous industrial sectors all over Europe.
Moreover, the project aimed at producing more affordable biomedical device with an immediate impact on the surgical practice and, hence, on the quality of life of patients.
In order to upscale the results and to reach an industrial relevant level of productivity, the project focused on four main challenges: part modeling and topology optimization, raw material optimization to avoid powder contamination, process and software innovation, validation and standardisation of the process on industrial components for the different materials.

Parts were redesigned by applying topology optimization/design for AM: the new geometries allowed for a reduction of costs (-13%), building time (up to 26%) and part weight (-17%).
Improved quality of raw metal powders was achieved through the development of procedures for cross-contamination identification and quantification; a novel device to remove contaminants from the raw metal powders was developed and tested within the production process and novel nanostructured alloys were developed as possible candidates for PBF.
DREAM project implemented also control processes: PBF machine control software was developed, specifically, for a better control of the effects of laser parameters on melt track instability/cooling defects, a finer control of the heat input and a 20% augmented fatigue life. This superior control process allowed the uncommon results of increasing the productivity (up to +24%) together with the reliability (+19% in the worst case, +300% in the best) of the AM process.

DREAM project tested the application of AM on three relevant end-users test cases: engine automotive aluminium components of Ferrari S.p.A. medium size prosthetic titanium components of Adler Ortho S.p.A and steel mould insert of the Italian Company Mold & Mold (RB SpA).
17% weight reduction was achieved by re-designing the automotive component, whilst accomplishing all the structural requirements such as stiffness, strength, fatigue and crash. The numerical and experimental validation of the DREAM engine mount was successful.

A particularly competitive femoral stem was developed: able to achieve a 13% reduction in the used material, optimizing the trabecular structure around the prosthesis which allows greater osseointegration and therefore greater secondary stability of the prosthesis.

The concept of cooling channels in the mould insert was fully reinvented, by investigating the high-risk solution of a net of cooling galleries, to be produced with a new material specifically designed for injection molding. The consequence is a better functionality together with easier affordability of this process.

Dissemination was implemented with oral and posters presentations in relevant events, and publications in scientific journals. The Summerschool “Metal Additive manufacturing for real industrial applications: from the lab to the product” was organized in Modena (IT) on 3-7 June 2019. The joint workshop “Excellence in Industrial Additive Manufacturing – from the lab to real industrial applications” with the 8 funded projects under the Additive Manucaturing R&I Group was organized in Frankfurt am Main on 20 November 2019, within FORMNEXT conference, as the outcome of a collaboration started with the patronage of the Common Dissemination Booster Initiative. Both events were opportunities for networking and exchange on both scientific and societal implications of the project results.
DREAM meant to reinforce industrial leadership, to substantially improve production speed, productivity and substantially reduce costs of laser-based Additive Manufacturing finally creating innovative processes and products contributing to a new innovation-oriented economy across Europe.

DREAM innovations improved the manufacturing efficiency of PBF processes - due to cost and material reduction - as well as faster rates of turn-over, required for laser PBF to gain full industrial acceptance and competitiveness.
Increased reliability of systems materials and consequently parts was achieved, through the novel geometries and materials developed. Also, an intelligent use of high cost materials only where they are strictly necessary was promoted, so that cheaper components were obtained.

Specifically on the consortium members, DREAM allowed for a reinforced industrial leadership, consisting in the offer of: more efficient systems and higher quality materials (EOS), novel services (MIND4D), optimized on-demand components produced with lower cost (POLYS), and more lightweight, more reliable, more functional end products (ADLEFR, FERRARI, RB).

DREAM fostered and will continue fostering a more widespread use of a manufacturing process that is not only cost-competitive, but also environment-friendly, as shown by the results of LCA analysis. The project sustained all factors for sustainable development based on PBF processes.
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