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Cornet: Research Network in Lower Austria Explores Expanding 3D Printing Applications

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Ecoplus Plastics and Mechatronics Cluster in Lower Austria has just completed their ‘AM 4 Industry’ Cornet project, outlining their findings regarding 3D printing—with the recently published work serving as the culmination of a large group of research partners and fifty-one companies (from Austria, Germany, and Belgium) working together on ‘industrial AM concepts’ for two years.

Begun in November of 2016, this ongoing research was funded with 2.1 million euros, and is comprised of the following organizations:

  • Research Institute for Rationalization (FIR) of the RWTH Aachen University
  • Research Subsidiary of FH Wiener Neustadt
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology
  • Institute for Polymer Injection Molding and Process Automation of the Johannes Kepler University Linz
  • Chair of Polymer Processing of the University of Leoben
  • RHP-Technology GmbH
  • Belgian Collective Center for the technological industry – Sirris

Noting that 3D printing and additive manufacturing processes are becoming increasingly more popular around the world by users on every level, the researchers found that it is having impacts on industrial production, and often allows designers and engineers to create parts and prototypes made up of complex geometries—ones that may not have been possible with conventional techniques. New mechanical properties and functionality may be added to components also.

It is no secret that while 3D printing offers a host of advantages and the ability to offer infinite new designs and innovations, many companies are still not ready to completely embrace additive technologies, breaking free from traditional methods.

For those already using AM processes, some may be reaping the rewards by enjoying profitable results, while others have trouble in attempting to learn and use the technology. The researchers pointed out that users must understand the following:

  • Processes
  • Materials
  • Finishing
  • Quality assurance
  • Cost-benefit ratios

Industrial applications also require:

  • Definition of quality characteristics
  • Development of methods for design and construction
  • Reliable monitoring of production processes
  • Suitable guidelines for reworking
  • Appropriate cost-benefit model

Cooperation between all entities on the research project was ‘intensive’ and it has now been deemed ‘successfully completed.’ Results were so extensive that they were separated into five different publications for practice and research.

The five publications include: a catalog of errors for laser beam melting, a practical design methodology for additive manufacturing, a fundamental study of processes, a tool for quality optimization and cost analyses and an application-oriented example for getting started with OpenFoam and chtMultiRegion.

Residual stresses become apparent during separation from the building plate (post-process), as discussed in Project report – AM 4 Industry – LBM Additive Manufacturing Defect Catalogue

Concerns over tool accessibility during machining, which reduces the achievable geometric complexity – as discussed in ‘Design for Additive Manufacturing A feasable methodology’

“Thanks to the expertise and the committed and open-minded cooperation of the partners involved, we were able to develop several methodologies and guidelines that will prove to be extremely relevant for the industry,” said ecoplus project manager Benjamin Losert.

Find out more about the Cornet research here.

3D printing continues to offer benefits to a long list of fields today, allowing medical professionals to make huge strides with medical devices and implants, aerospace engineers to expand functionality and design of rockets, and so much more. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Sources: Additive Manufacturing Association Austria; Images: AM 4 Industry ]

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