acam-logoThere’s 3D printing—and then there’s world class 3D printing, such as that taking place at the Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing (ACAM). With the goal to pass on expertise in 3D printing, along with training and consulting for teams around the world, ACAM is in the business of developing ‘strategic roadmaps’ and helping businesses integrate additive manufacturing into their production environments. Founded in 2015 and driven by the tenets and goals of their founding partners, ACAM offers a range of services based on memberships from Basic (€12,000) to Business (€40,000) to Cooperation (negotiated).

They also operate on a networking concept which has become so popular amongst the city’s institutes and technology-oriented enterprises that now sixteen new partner companies have signed off on a dynamic program schedule for 2016 which will include six research projects and twelve seminars.

Route Planner for the AM 'roadmap.'

Route Planner for the AM ‘roadmap.’ [Photo: Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen]

Companies from around the world, including Germany, Austria, Japan and Switzerland, are participating, joining in with representatives of six institute and campus-based enterprises already involved within the ACAM network. All 16 new partners have agreed to a detailed training and research program upon a recent meeting at ACAM headquarters in Aachen, Germany.

As they begin to get started on new research projects, it seems that momentum is highly driven by such positive response to the facility and ensuing work.

“One of the reasons why ACAM GmbH has been given a tremendous reception by such internationally renowned companies as Rolex, IHI, Linde, Toyota, Zollern, Otto Fuchs, Mitsubishi and voestalpine is the great number of presentations that it has given at all kinds of events, from Formnext 2015 through to a project meeting of the EU’s HORIZON 2020 Framework Program,” states the ACAM team in their latest press release.

Their partners produce everything from gas to steel to luxury wristwatches and rocket engines. Cumulatively, their plan is to approach AM from all angles, with projects that will tackle:

  • Design, process, and business management
  • Further education
  • Feasibility studies and consultancy
  • Development in the expert community

Partners received vouchers totaling €154,000 for the six projects, which ACAM states will center around multiple issues, reflecting demands of the AM industry such as the analysis and assessment of production facilities, the qualification of materials for LMD and SLM processes, through to the handling of metal powder and questions relating to health and safety at work.

Managing directors Dr.-Ing. Kristian Arntz (Fraunhofer IPT) and Dr.-Ing. Johannes Witzel (Fraunhofer ILT) have also brought forth initial and joint research projects, which the facility sees as representing ‘important pathways’ on the AM strategic roadmap.

e-goA wide range of seminars begin in May as well, targeting both beginners to AM and those on a more experienced level. With a total of twelve seminars being offered, ACAM has said that each one is from one to three days in duration, covering the following:

  • AM basics
  • Instruction in standard CAD software
  • AM-compatible design
  • Opportunities for AM in casting

Also offered on June 23rd is Additive Manufacturing Innovation Day. Experts from professional technology and market information provider KEX Knowledge Exchange AG, the INC Invention Center (RWTH Aachen Campus), and Fraunhofer IPT will be on hand to offer up innovative ideas in additive manufacturing ‘in a playful environment’ meant to inspire ACAM partners.

They make it clear too, that their community is not closed, although the many project and seminar plans are rolling forward.

“ACAM is a growing enterprise, and it goes without saying that it is open to further partners,” says Ingrid Roll, responsible for Marketing & Community Management ACAM.

The following companies are involved so far:

  • Concept Laser GmbH, Lichtenfels
  • Ferdinand Bilstein GmbH + Co. KG, Ennepetal
  • GKN Sinter Metals Engineering GmbH, Radevormwald
  • IHI Corporation, Tokyo (Japan)
  • IXUN Lasertechnik GmbH, Aachen
  • Linde AG, Munich
  • LUNOVU GmbH, Herzogenrath
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Tokyo (Japan)
  • Oerlikon Metco, Winterthur (Switzerland)
  • Otto Fuchs KG, Meinerzhagen
  • Otto Junker GmbH, Simmerath
  • Rolex SA, Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG, Herzogenaurach
  • Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota City (Japan)
  • voestalpine Edelstahl GmbH, Vienna (Austria)
  • ZOLLERN GmbH & Co. KG, Sigmaringendorf-Laucherthal

If you are interested in joining as a member or partner, find out more at ACAM. We’d like to know your thoughts on the programs and services they are providing. Discuss in the ACAM & 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.

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