The world of additive manufacturing is constantly evolving, thanks to projects that endeavor to make it more efficient and effective. Many of those projects are designed to make hardware and software work together more smoothly. The Computer Aided Technologies for Additive Manufacturing (CAxMan) project is an ongoing one, based in Norway, that is intended to support the design, simulation, and process planning for additive manufacturing through what it describes as “cloud based toolboxes, workflows and a one-stop shop for CAx technologies.”
Specifically, the project aims to establish analysis-based design approaches with several goals. One of those goals is to reduce material usage by 12%, and to create internal cavities and voids for more lightweight components while still maintaining component properties. Another is to optimize distribution and grading of material for multi-material additive manufacturing processes, as well as to facilitate the manufacture of components which are currently impossible or very difficult to produce using subtractive methods.
The project also is intended to enhance analysis-based process planning for additive manufacturing, including thermal and stress aspects and their interoperability with the design phase. Finally, it means to make additive and subtractive processes more compatible, in order to get the best of both worlds: the geometrical flexibility of additive manufacturing along with the surface finish of subtractive manufacturing.
The project offers a cloud portal in the form of a marketplace for cloud applications and services addressing the design, analysis and production chain for additive manufacturing. An ecosystem of open source algorithmic toolkits for additive manufacturing will be established over the course of the project, in order to maintain the marketplace after the project is completed.
Ultimately, the CAxMan project is focused on furthering the industrial usage of additive manufacturing, taking it beyond prototyping and into real production. To do this, manufacturers need to document and certify the quality of the outcomes of additive manufacturing processes, like product strength, surface quality, material behavior and shape constraints.
The success of the project will go a long way toward establishing better hybrid manufacturing practices, as well as industrializing additive manufacturing. As the industry moves away from prototyping and gets more serious about both additive and subtractive manufacturing – and what they can accomplish together – software and systems will need to keep up. CAxMan has already proven itself through several use cases, a few of which you can find on the project website. While subtractive manufacturing is a big part of the project, the greatest focus is on additive, and on optimizing and taking advantage of everything the technology has to offer.
The Project Coordinator for CAxMan is Dr. Tor Dokken, Chief Scientist at Norwegian company SINTEF Digital. Several prominent companies and institutions have also partnered up to participate in the project.
Tor Dokken mentioned to us that, “The CAxMan project is an EC H2020 Factories of the Future project with 14 partners coordinated from Norway (3 Norwegian partners + 3 German + 2 French + 2 Italian + 2 Spanish + 1 Slovenian + 1 Austrian). This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 680448″
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