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Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2021-10-31

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a process of joining materials to make objects from 3D model data, usually layer upon layer, as opposed to subtractive manufacturing methodologies, also referred to as industrial 3D printing. AM is considered as a key enabling technology in high value manufacturing. It enables smarter value chains, greater manufacturing flexibility and design freedoms. AM is transforming the way products and components are designed, manufactured and supplied in a wide range of sectors. The innovation networks in AM are characterised by entirely new business models, high development and adaption rates, as well as strong technology diffusion within the economy and its resulting consumer goods and products for society.

Therefore, the general objective of the H2020 IAMRRI project was to build-up the knowledge base for understanding complex innovation systems in AM, which are formed by webs of dynamically changing and interacting innovation value chains (WIVC). This idea was mainly driven by the goal to understand how future innovations can best solve societal challenges.

In addition, the implementation of the RRI approach played a crucial role in all project-related considerations. The key topics (RRI keys) have been defined as gender equality, the promotion of young scientists (science education), the ethical discussion of new innovative solutions (ethics), the engagement of society (public engagement) and the strengthening of open access to research results.
Studying the additive manufacturing innovation system:
To gain a deeper understanding of the development of these AM innovation networks, the project has examined use cases in the automotive and medical sectors, based on real innovation collaboration initiatives. The studies on the cooperation or interaction of the different partner organisations, the way they exchanged data or knowledge with each other and how they jointly created the necessary knowledge are important project results. These results/data from the use cases also formed the input for the design of the agent-based model and the calibration to gain realistic simulation results.
The different demonstrators in the automotive and medical sectors served as complementary results. In the automotive sector a redesigned automotive suspension component was created. In the medical sector new types of implants for skull and spinal column elements made out of ceramics were developed. The results of the AM use cases have also revealed new knowledge on the behaviour and properties of the ceramic materials and new AM technologies for ceramics. Moreover, the medical use case has triggered further clinical studies for novel orthopaedic or dental implants.

Modelling and Simulation:
Agent-based modelling and mathematical simulations have been used to understand the webs of innovation value chains in the different stages and the complex networks with many actors and interactions with the various influencing variables.

Conceptual model:
In the IAMRRI project, currently known indicators in innovation research were screened in literature. The research and exchange with the AM community helped to select the appropriate indicators for characterising AM innovations. Economic performance, social performance and strategic impact can be described now by clear indicators and defined metrics. Interviews with researchers, companies and other stakeholders gave the basis for description of the innovation networks, their innovation processes and their activities in the value chains. For example, it was investigated how the RRI key factors in the innovation process position themselves to create the transition from idea generation to product development to market diffusion in the innovation chain.

Agent based modelling:
The representation of the real world was translated into an agent-based model describing the characteristics, knowledge and learning behaviour of the agents in the AM innovation system and their interaction with other agents in the network (innovation hypothesis). Influences from legal regulation, research funding, standardisation or RRI expenditures were described in the model as well. At the entrance of the market diffusion phase a mechanism for modelling start-ups was implemented. The SKIN Model, which deals with innovation networks, was extended (IAMRRI SKIN model), so that the conceptual model of the IAMRRI project could be implemented as agent based model.
The necessary software code was programmed, so that today two different software versions are available to simulate the networks of innovation value chains. One version considers the influence on innovation value chains by NGO´s. First results confirm that efforts for RRI (RRI cost), legal regulations or standardisation have a significant influence on the development of AM innovation networks. Depending on the configuration of the initial composition of actors in the WIVC, the paths of the progress in the innovation process from ideas to market entry are different.
The simulations have demonstrated that especially the constellation of the network structure or the characteristics of the innovation process of the WIVC have a significant influence on the RRI inclination.

IAMRRI foresight:
Another research question of the project dealt with the topic of how the European society would change if additive manufacturing were to spread in the future. A pan-European foresight study was conducted to see a) how possible future scenarios would develop, b) how these developments would interact with the social orientation of AM innovations and c) how the economic development of AM would be shaped. In this setting, four different future scenarios were developed, which showed totally different development paths of society and depicted the different risks and potentials for the future.
The project results achieved can best be summarised in the following:

• WIVC´s of additive manufacturing (AM) are characterised and described by a conceptual model for AM (WP2), the understanding of criss-crossing (D2.4) was developed.
• Indicators for societal and economic impact as well as strategic performance (application field: AM) have been selected (WP2).
• A basic and refined agent based model was set up, software code was programmed and enabled the simulation of WIVC (WP3/WP5) – IAMRRI SKIN Model.
• The localisation of the openings for the implementation of RRI in WIVC was based on the EC RRI key approach (work was an integrated part of WP 2 to 5). Research work showed that the following RRI keys are the most important for AM: open access, ethics, public engagement and gender equality.
• AM actors were characterised according to their knowledge (KENES) in the automotive and medical AM field (WP4).
• The use cases conducted in the automotive and medical sectors not only collected important data for the verification and calibration of the IAMRRI SKIN Model, but also generated several innovations in the two industry sectors (WP4).
• A foresight was carried out with the engagement of various European stakeholders to find out how additive manufacturing will change the European society. Four main RRI-oriented scenarios were elaborated (WP 6).
• Strategic guidelines for decision makers have been developed (WP 5).
• A high number of publications were published and the IAMRRI Future Conference (“IAMRRI Future Talk) took place (WP 6/WP 7).
Image showing a person who is interaction with a web, Logo of the IAMRRI project