Additive manufacturing for the lightweighting era
The infrastructure at the EcoMaT material research centre is being enhanced by a new test facility for additive manufacturing (3D printing). Additive manufacturing is a key aspect of the work done by EcoMaT in the Airport City.
The Leibniz Institute for Materials Engineering – IWT, one of the scientific partners in the EcoMaT, is focusing on improving the reliability and safety of highly stressed metallic components in additive manufacturing.
There are particular challenges here regarding, for example, deployment in load-bearing parts of an aircraft, a launch vehicle or a car. Existing processes for the manufacture of high-strength and safety-related components need to be developed further and improved. To do this, the IWT needs a test rig, a “HIP” facility.
This facility will permit research and development work to be done in the field of hot isostatic pressing (HIP). In it, components made via additive manufacturing are exposed to increased temperatures and extremely high pressure in order to eliminate the pores which are typical of the manufacturing process and which reduce strength.
A HIP facility will give the EcoMaT a unique advantage in the region and beyond, as it is the first of its kind in northern Germany.
Further to this, the research capabilities of the IWT will be given a significant boost. The new facility means that the IWT covers the entire process chain of additive manufacturing – from the development of steel and aluminium alloys to the design and production of components, as well as follow-up work using the HIP process. The new HIP facility aims to ensure that the technical potential of the materials produced by this procedure can be commercially exploited in cooperation with the EcoMaT’s partners.
The regional aerospace industry, local manufacturing and service companies and Bremen’s research and higher education establishments will all benefit from the facility as it helps to build up their pioneering role in metallic additive manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is a key enabling technology for the activities known as “Industrie 4.0” to digitise industrial production. Additive manufacturing plays a decisive role in the development of entirely new construction processes which use fewer resources in the making of prototypes and products.
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