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Development and validation of integrated multiprocess HYbrid PROduction CELLs for rapid individualized laser-based production

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - HyproCell (Development and validation of integrated multiprocess HYbrid PROduction CELLs for rapid individualized laser-based production)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-12-31

Laser-based Additive Manufacturing (LBAM) fits well with individualized production on demand, due to its ability to transform digital designs directly into physical products and thus enabling the small size lots fabrication. Over the last years, LBAM has drawn an enormous surge of industrial interest and has grown significantly. The metal AM machines market is witnessing now a critical and emerging moment, however it is not yet competitive on a larger scale especially because parts are usually considerably more expensive than conventionally produced ones and the production speed is not as rapid as promised. Without forgetting the manufacturing time inherent to material-laser interaction layer by layer, significant down times are linked to machine adjustment from one lot to other (time lost when material needs to be changed, laser downtimes due to part cooling and base plate preparation and extraction, parts handling needs operator intervention, and others).

In HyProCell two LBAM technologies were addressed: Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Laser Metal Deposition (LMD). HyProCell has direct technological and industrial impacts, as well as indirect environmental and social ones to boost Europe’s competitiveness in global markets and the creation of highly skilled jobs, while complying with environmental policies.

HyProCell investigated the combination of available cutting-edge LBAM machines and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) innovations within an integrated multiprocess production cell, which includes at least LBAM and subtractive manufacturing machines, in order to ensure a fully finished product from the incoming raw material.

The main objective of HyProCell was to implement and validate the concept of hybrid manufacturing cells, featuring laser-based additive manufacturing as well as more conventional subtractive manufacturing processes, in real settings, manufacturing real parts and measuring the benefits. This is achieved in the context of three Pilots Lines: two related to hybrid SLM and one for hybrid LMD processes.

The detailed objectives of the project were:
• To have more flexible and reconfigurable LBAM focused production cells
• To reduce the time required to develop manufacturing procedures for new products when additive and subtractive manufacturing processes are combined, from weeks to days
• To decrease the down time 50% when SLM is the process implied in part production
• To increase the incomes coming from functional parts provided to industry from the current 10% to > 50 % in AM business bureaus and OEMs
• To reduce overall costs for on-demand products up to 30%
• To extend the type of components manufactured by LBAM
• To improve data management (register, use), allowing a better monitoring of process data (good traceability) and further integrated production cell performance optimization through data mining
For HYPROCELL project the key results are:
• Toolboxes (AUTODESK PowerShape and PowerMill) for generating modeling data for the manufacturing
• Multi location data hosting and cloud environment (AUTODESK Fusion Team) has been implemented and deployed for the LMD Use Case.
• Development of OPC Unified Architecture Adapters and Middleware Components
• Provision of suitable robotic arms and design of robust pallet systems capable of handling the parts in HyProCells
• Addition of external controls to the ADIRA TLM machine which made it operational as a connected module of an integrated production process
• Adaptation of the Hybrid LMD HAMUEL machine for use under HyProCell approach, achieving superior control capacities
• Development of a MES that acts as a dispatcher of information between the integration layer and other components of the system
• Development of a method entitled SCG (S: Splitting, C: Clustering and G: Graph making) to allow data analytics and data mining, using Time Series processing of data acquired from SLM machines
• Implementation of LMD AM Pilot cell @AUTODESK. For use-case demonstration activities, suitable process conditions were developed for Inconel718
• Implementation of the SLM AM Pilot Cell @POLY-SHAPE integrating the adapted stations (ADIRA, SOLUKON and EROWA systems), the MES and the AUTODESK software suite. 2 use cases (conditioning table and exchanger pipe) have been produced in order to validate the cell.
• Implementation of the SLM post-process Pilot cell @RAMEM which integrates RAMEM machines, EROWA robot system and the MES. 2 use-cases (the rake and the valve) were built
• Measurement of the potential production gains and evaluation for the 2 SLM pilot cells. An economic study has also been done on the 4 use cases.
• Reduction of the average down times is reduced by 35% with HyProCell configuration

The different dissemination activities (WP8) carried out:
- Identity
- Web Page
- Media
- Videos: 2 - Video 1: HyProCell - Proving Automated Hybrid Production Workflows (https://youtu.be/_aSeSn4EBy0); Video 2: HyProCell Software System Architecture (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1RXyIEj_IE)
- Exhibitions and conferences: 21 events

A set of 12 key exploitable results was derived. The top-level descriptors are these ones:
1. CAx Tools: Software streamlining additive workflow and allowing to get from a 3D model to successfully printed parts
2. MES & Automation: Software that both triggers and controls the manufacturing processes
3. LBAM Adaptation: LBAM process parameters and machine alterations enabling novel features (e.g. less part oxidation) and external controls to support integrated production
4. Part Handling: Robot and pallet systems for build plate and part handling (high temp & heavy weight), meeting M2M communication and high precision positioning specifications
Three manufacturing Pilot Lines have been created in the frame of HyProCell. The Pilot Lines intend to give European industry access to proven hybrid LBAM solutions and manufacturing, allowing the opportunity to test and validate ideas and new products prior to market entry. The Pilot Lines aim to increase the productivity of machine and production line manufacturers and their clients (OEMs), especially during design and ramp-up phases, as the project deals with the integration of machines and production lines.

Socio-Economic impact: HyProCell has direct technological and industrial impacts, as well as indirect environmental and social ones. All of them are timely, considering the need to increase Europe’s competitiveness in global markets, comply with environmental policies and creation of highly skilled jobs.

Industrial impact: Intelligent integration of production cells, combining subtractive and additive manufacturing techniques for efficient, flexible and high-throughput production of small lots. This is a key factor for increasing the contribution of the manufacturing sector to European growth and prosperity.

Environmental impact: Enabling more efficient production operations for end-users reduces the environmental impact of production processes. Two particular impacts supported by HyProCell are the reduction of transport and rejections that lead to less material waste and scrap. The Project is also aligned with the energy reduction drivers as per the Factories of the Future guidelines.

Social and Other impact: HyProCell outputs have an important societal dimension considering the number of jobs depending on manufacturing industries.
Hybrid SLM Pilot
Hybrid LMD Pilot
Hybrid SLM Post-processing Pilot
HyProCell Pilot Cells set-up