In Denmark, 3D printing certainly isn’t unheard-of. The country recently became home to a 3D printed building, for example, and several companies have been implementing the technology as part of their industrial processes. But the Danish Technological Institute believes that there is much more potential for 3D printing to spread in Denmark, which is why it is launching the AM-LINE project, an initiative to encourage more Danish companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to adopt 3D printing.
The project includes initiatives like open labs, workshops and industry searches with companies that have already been using 3D printing. Partners include Grundfos and Danfoss, and the goal is to inspire other companies to begin exploring the technology the way these larger companies have. Even the smallest businesses can benefit from 3D printing, said section leader Jeppe Skinnerup Byskov of the Danish Technological Institute; the technology allows for greater design freedom, shorter production time and more lightweight components.
A new AM-LINE center will open in the spring of 2018, and companies will be invited in to take advantage of a multitude of equipment, including four metal 3D printers, several plastic 3D printers of varying technology, finishing facilities for heat and surface treatment, and quality assurance equipment such as CT scanning.
“The center will be a full production facility where companies can develop and print products that they can subsequently implement directly in their own production lines,” said Byskov.
The AM-LINE center will also offer training and advice on investing in 3D printing. According to Byskov, the center will offer a wide range of courses, from short inspirational workshops to courses focusing on long-term business progress. Companies that are more advanced in their use of 3D printing can be further guided in purchasing their own 3D printers or hiring subcontractors to scale up their production.
The AM-LINE center is being built at the existing 3D printing facilities at the Danish Technological Institute, which has been utilizing the technology since 1989, when it installed its first 3D printer. Over the last decade, the institute has also been working with metal 3D printing.
The AM-LINE project has a budget of 88 million kr, with an innovation fund investment of 35 million kr. The project is expected to last for four years.
Additional partners include:
- Grundfos – will be responsible for quality assurance and certification of 3D printed items, as well as contributing several business cases based on 3D printing of their products
- Danfoss – will identify and optimized products for 3D printing and develop business cases based on 3D printing
- DTU – will develop Digital Twin simulation tool
- Adimant – responsible for optimizing corporate products for 3D printing
- Scada Minds – will act as the link between the digital and physical production line, responsible for monitoring and data collection from the production line and ensuring that the data is incorporated into the Digital Twin
- MADE – will help to ensure a broad upgrade of Danish companies in 3D printing through their large networks
- TWI – will ensure that the latest knowledge is drawn so AM-LINE can build on previous results and be better and faster
- NIRAS – will focus on safety and working environment in the 3D printing production line
A survey taken last year showed that only 4% of small and medium-sized Danish businesses are using 3D printing. If the AM-LINE project goes as planned, that percentage will soon become much larger.
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