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Developing a novel hybrid AM approach which will offer unrivalled flexibility, part quality and productivity

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - OpenHybrid (Developing a novel hybrid AM approach which will offer unrivalled flexibility, part quality and productivity)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-09-30

The main aim of the OpenHybrid project is to overcome the technical and commercial barriers of current hybrid manufacturing systems to deliver a single manufacturing system, capable of producing large, complex and high value components without the need for materials handling or post-processing. The OpenHybrid project provides an all in one hybrid additive and subtractive multi tool platform. It utilises Directed Energy Deposition (DED) Additive Manufacturing (AM), known as cladding, where a metal powder or wire feed is melted using electron/laser beam or electric arc. This approach has significant advantages over conventional powder bed fusion AM, in that cladding offers very high deposition rates, increased material flexibility, and can be in a hybrid approach, enabling complex features or different material to be deposited onto an existing component produced conventionally. In the OpenHybrid project laser) cladding will be employed, offering excellent weld quality, low capital/running costs, very high. This route is also applicable in offering a very effective repair technique.

The project will deliver the following benefits:
• At least a 25% reduction in time and cost with respect to current equipment and processes.
• A 15% increase in productivity for high-volume AM production
• Increased utilisation and reduced set-up times enabling the OpenHybrid system to better meet the needs of the customers (short delivery and customisation).
• A 20% reduction in inventory due to the single step process and greater flexibility.
• Reduction of work floor space by 40%.

In addition, the project contributes to broader EC objectives by enabling localised manufacture within the EU, strengthening the current position of the EU’s additive manufacturing value chain and contributing to new standards for hybrid manufacture.

These developments will unlock the potential of Hybrid AM place Europe in an unassailable lead in this key area of manufacturing technology. Novel techniques will be developed to reduce thermal stress and provide a robust inert gas environment to ensure material quality. Moreover, a machining process will be integrated to enable fully finished components to be produced. This route is not only applicable for new part production but could also offer a very effective repair technique.

OpenHybrid is an industry-led project involving major manufacturers in the target applications of large process and mining industries (WEIR), power generation (SIEMENS), automotive (FIAT). The supply chain of the project is represented by participants who supply of both large gantry systems (Güdel) and CNC machine tools (GF), CAM software (BCT & PIC), tooling interfaces (HMT) and inspection equipment and services. The development is underpinned by three world-class research organisations (MTC, FHG-IPT and TWI). OpenHybrid addresses the major and growing problem for the AM sector of the cost, time and resource needed to finish parts post AM build, and thus directly addresses the post-processing part of the “Pre- and post-processing” topic. The complexity of AM parts makes them difficult to finish once completed, requiring specialist cutting tools and expensive fixtures to hold parts, and unfinished internal surfaces limit their fatigue durability. Machining in process in combination with novel stress relieving and in-process measurement significantly simplifies machining (shorter, more rigid cutting tools and simplified cutting strategies can be used). Cladding provides unrivalled material flexibility enabling material to be deposited in complex graded configurations, providing performance enhancement and design freedom. A key part of the project is to demonstrate the new process using demonstration parts, with novel design and material usage, provided by key industrial end-user participants. OpenHybrid will model the laser cladding deposition process, enabling the most effective deposition strategy to be devised, providing an integrated “user can forget” process linked to a CAD/CAM system.
"Main achievements
2 commercially available platforms developed.

- Mikron Mill P800 U DED Machine Developed during OpenHybrid, combines additive and subtractive manufacturing (milling) and direct metal deposition (cladding) on a same machine without any loss of performance or working volume. Travel X, Y, Z 800 x 800 x 550 (mm), Swivelling axis / tilting axis +91/-121 / n x 360 [°] , Integrated laser CW laser 2kW.

- Gantry platform: Large scale rigid gantry system with Integrated C-A axes and spindle. High speed milling head enabling milling or grinding operation as well as high rate wire feed deposition head.
Travel X, Y, Z 2749 x 2555 x 1800 (mm), Integrated laser 2kw (upgradable to 6kw), Cladding head - HMT wire feed S8 Head, Wire feed rate - 500-2500 [mm/min].

Extended Capabilities:
- Wire Cladding Head, changeover in seconds, integral local shielding and cooling, Multi-kW laser processing
- Smart Powder Cladding Head
- Adaptive CAM Software from BCT
- Mayka Expert 5 axis with ""Print and Mill"" option from PicaSoft
- Simulation tools from ESI
- Scanning Head

4 Case Studies: from Automotive, Energy and Engineering applications have been used to trial and validate the 2 platoforms.

Dissemination ;
The standard suite of early dissemination activities has been undertaken, including generation of project logo, press releases, leaflets, design and production of pop-up stands, creation of the project website and standard presentation slides."
Progress beyond the State of the art
Key Innovations in the OpenHybid project include;

- Process and Part monitoring:
- Development of world’s first wire feed dockable cladding head which can be interchanged seamlessly with other process tools without manual intervention or significant delay.
- In-process Stress Reliving.
- Simple to use CAM package which can be used to plan and execute both the machining and cladding steps within the hybrid DED AM process.

The OpenHybrid project supports the European 2020 grand societal challenges. Advances in additive manufacturing will contribute specifically to at least three out of five of the grand challenges, namely; supporting employment (75% if the 20-64 year olds to be employed), increasing investment in innovation (3% of the EU’s GDP – public and private combined to be invested in R&D & innovation), and reducing emissions through more energy efficient manufacturing (greenhouse gas emissions 20% less than 1990 and 20% increase in energy efficiency). In addition, the project supports the general objectives of the Factories of the Future PPP

OpenHybrid supports the sustainability agenda of reduce, reuse and recycle. The hybrid AM approach enables additive manufacturing processes that deliver near net shape technologies, inherently reducing the amount of material being used in the manufacture of a component. This will reduce the CO2 emissions associated with the extraction, synthesis and transportation of raw materials. The hybrid approach encourages component re-use creating new service offerings whereby components can be returned, re-machined and surface features to be reintroduced through the cladding process. The approach has also develop parts and components with inherently superior wear properties leading to longer lifetime.