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  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BOREALIS (Borealis – the 3A energy class Flexible Machine for the new Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing on next generation of complex 3D metal parts.)

BOREALIS Report Summary

Project ID: 636992
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BOREALIS (Borealis – the 3A energy class Flexible Machine for the new Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing on next generation of complex 3D metal parts.)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Borealis will combine different technologies in a single machine to deliver true-net-shape products through a real-one-step process with an unprecedented material usage efficiency and energy efficiency. Borealis will implement an advanced 3D laser scanner that, combined with a novel laser source system, will support different laser based additive and subtractive technologies. For the first time ablation technology will complement the AM fabrication process to allow surface finishing, micro texturing and micro holes that would be otherwise unfeasible in one processing step. Borealis will be equipped with an innovative flexible revolver head that will enable blending multiple powders of different materials and with different particles dimensions (micro and nano powders) to enhance usage flexibility. Borealis machine and software infrastructure will perform a closed loop monitoring of the process that will lead to parts that are always right the first time (zero defect manufacturing) thanks to a sophisticated sensing system (camera and spectroscopy integrated system) and process parameters corrections elaborated and implemented at NC level.
Borealis will combine fast mechatronics, additive and subtractive laser processing in the largest AM machine ever built before, with a flexible redundant structure to accommodate extremely variable working cubes and deposition areas. Borealis will enable the integration of multiple AM technologies in one single machine to combine the most productive alternative with the most precise one with zero set-up time and zero material waste. Borealis will offer world class efficiency: super light structure, three steps powder heating with energy loss recovering, high power with high beam quality laser source that allows power densities on the working area currently achievable with higher power lasers, fully adaptive process planning to minimize any energy loss.
Borealis will minimize powder losses by guaranteeing a controlled atmosphere in the operative region thanks to a shielded working space that encapsulates all ejected powders and protects them from oxygen contact. Borealis will implement a software infrastructure with the first working exploitation of a completely closed automatic in line CAx chain bound to the CNC to select the Best Available Processing Strategy and machine settings. Borealis will offer the highest throughput rate with unprecedented surface quality (submicron rugosity) thanks to the combination of two highly efficient laser sources (one CW for the sintering of metal powders and one pulsed for precise ablation and surface smoothing) and a fast scanning head.
Borealis will combine powder mix management and fast laser processing to make possible the manufacturing of a new generation of products whose design and structure is currently out of the feasibility ranges of both conventional technologies (which is unfit to manage complex reticular shapes and multi-material / functionally graded structures) and AM (which is unfit to manage large parts and high production rates).

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The set of activities which have been addressed during the first 18 months of the project life pertains to the following challenges which have been undertaken so far:
• Definition of user requirements from the aerospace, motorsport and medtech industries and identification of a set of use cases scenarios (WP2).
• Based on the use cases, a set of round robin parts has been identified whose objective was to embrace the final product challenges in a path of increasing complexity (WP2).
• The definition of the round robin parts described in terms of geometric and technological features has supported the activity of process design, both deposition and ablation, and validation (WP3).
• The process design constituted the basis for identifying the requirements for the laser source and the laser head (WP4) and the nozzle design along with the feeding system specs (WP5).
• The use cases also led to the definition of the minimum degrees of freedom and working cube of the Borealis machine (WP5) whose design process is carried out in synergy with WP3, WP4 and WP6 works.
• The design of the machine represented a preliminary setup for designing the vision system. It has been conceived to collect information from the features to be captured and the process tasks to be monitored and generating an integrated solution of cameras, sensors and scanners to be mounted in the machine structure (WP6).
• Based on the input coming from the process, the machine, the vision system design choices, the following step was to support the process and machine monitoring activity and, if necessary, determining a set of recovery strategies to be implemented at process/machine control level (WP7).
• Concurrently, the machine control architecture and the communication infrastructure have been designed (WP8) with a modular strategy in a way very high number of DoF and redundant requirements could be supported.

The first 18 months of the project produced the following results:
• Set of round robin parts designed for DED AM as single parts with high structural performance and presenting precise geometric features and complex shape.
• Reference framework of the product, hybrid process and equipment information which will support the future creation of a database.
• Design of hybrid processes (deposition and ablation).
• Design of multiple DoF redundant structure machine with very large dimension and exploiting hybrid techs while integrating a new generation of laser scanner.
• Monitoring infrastructure composed by an heterogeneous set of cameras and sensors.
• Closed loop platform for parts monitoring and adaptation in line with the deposition works.
• Modular control platform to support part program regeneration based on process adaptation and variable motion strategies.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

As mentioned in section 2.1 of the DoA, three level of impacts were expected by the Borealis project and they are still valid. They are:
• Impact on new generation aerospace, medtech and motorsport complex products;
• Impact on efficient additive and subtractive laser based manufacturing sectors;
• Impact on next generation of machinery.

The following paragraph describes the preliminary expected impact of the Borealis machine for the three categories mentioned above:
• Demonstration of the feasibility of the production of very large component in Titanium and Aluminum alloys (Ti6Al4V and AlSi7Mg) for motorsport and aerospace sector;
• Realization of low cost high tech medical implants made in Ti6Al4V;
• Possibility to exploit new material that will substitute previously used material, i.e. the usage of Ti6Al4V instead of Magnesium for a motorsport gearbox;
• Flexibility towards multiple technologies, i.e. additive and subtractive manufacturing laser based tools embedded in the same system;
• High power laser with adaptive collimator
• High energy efficient hybrid laser source module
• Achievement of cutting edge manufacturing thresholds of accuracy, reliability and speed
• Achievement of high throughput associated to a high powder efficiency;
• In line process monitoring and closed loop control of the process;
• Dynamic optimization of the deposition strategy to keep the machine performance on target;
• Increased productivity compared to traditional AM machine thanks to the new feeding system design.

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