Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DREAM (Driving up Reliability and Efficiency of Additive Manufacturing)

DREAM stands for ?Driving up Reliability and Efficiency of Additive Manufacturing? and it has been funded under Horizon 2020 Factories of the Future Initiative with an EU contribution of more than 3,2 millions of euros. The implements a disruptive photonics technology to...\n\nDREAM stands for ?Driving up Reliability and Efficiency of Additive Manufacturing? and it has been funded under Horizon 2020 Factories of the Future Initiative with an EU contribution of more than 3,2 millions of euros. The implements a disruptive photonics technology to enable the 4th Industrial revolution through the implementation of laser-based metal Additive Manufacturing.

The specific aim of DREAM is to significantly improve the performances of laser Powder Bed Fusion of titanium, aluminium and steel components in the following terms: weight reduction (15%, already achieved in the first 18 months), production speed increase (5%), material cost reduction (10%), process productivity increase (+15%) and fatigue test increase (from 20% up to 120%) with a sustainable Life Cycle Approach.
In order to upscale the results and to reach an industrial relevant level of productivity, the project focuses on four main challenges: part modeling and topology optimization, raw material optimization to avoid powder contamination, process and software innovation, validation and standardisation of the process on industrial components for the different materials.

DREAM tests the application of Additive Manufacturing on three relevant end-users test cases: engine automotive aluminium components of Ferrari S.p.a.; medium size prosthetic titanium components of Adler Ortho S.p.A and steel mould insert of R.B. S.r.l..

Through innovations in part modelling, materials and additive processing, DREAM will add competitiveness at all steps of the manufacturing chain, so that each of the Consortium partners will benefit from a reinforced industrial leadership, consisting in the offer of: more efficient additive manufacturing systems; optimized on-demand services for the production of cost-effective component, novel engineering design services combining topology optimization and design; more lightweight and reliable products.

The environmental impact of the DREAM project relies in fostering the widespread use of a manufacturing process that is clean, environment-friendly and cost-competitive. DREAM will also contribute in minimizing waste, the use of hazardous substances and resource consumption. DREAM will bring about a decrease in the use of many resources: raw material, cutting fluids, installed power in the workshop, energy.
In terms of society, DREAM project will in turn benefit employment growth and promote a healthy competitiveness in the EU area. A broad dissemination of progress in the field of the DREAM Project will influence numerous industrial sectors all over Europe. Moreover, the project aims at producing more affordable biomedical devices with an immediate impact on the surgical practice and, hence, on the quality of life of patients. An additional strength of DREAM solutions for femoral stems is the feasibility of customized biomedical appliances, specifically designed for individual patients with reduced risk of bone resorption, with an obvious added value.\n\nThe work performed in the first period addressed the following four main challenges.

(i) Part modeling and topology optimization
In the first 18 months, the redesign of the three benchmarks has been carried out by a combination of topology optimization and design for additive manufacturing. KPI1 has already been achieved, with some extra gain in two of the three test cases. As to the steel benchmark, the last redesigned part is extremely promising for better cooling performance.

(ii) Raw material optimization to avoid powder contamination
The activities in M1-18 led to identify the major contamination sources, to find methods for their detection and to measure the resolution of these approaches, to plan the production of contaminated specimens. In particular, several detection techniques have been tested, which are the starting point for the development of systems and procedures for contaminant removal.

(iii) Process optimization, including innovations of the control software of the AM machine, to enable high throughput production

The first steps have been taken to determine sets of laser paramenters enabling higher productivity, with possible gains well above KPI3 and as impressive as 30%. Based on the results of the first 18 months, higher productivity parameters have been included in the set of experiments that is ongoing.

(iv) Setup of laser-PBF of nanostructured Titanium alloys for an additional push to higher productivity.

Initial results on the production of nano structured powders have been achieved.\n\nThe expected vs achieved impacts of DREAM are listed in the following.

1) Reinforced industrial leadership in laser-based Additive Manufacturing.

2) Substantially improved production speed, improved productivity and substantially reduced costs of laser-based Additive Manufacturing.

The project is succeeding in building up all the technology advancements required for laser PBF to gain full industrial acceptance and competitiveness. The main achievements so far regard: augmented productivity (30% higher in the tests ongoing in WP3) and cut-down costs (enabled by lighter components designed in WP1 and faster build times being tested in WP3, which involve requiring lower costs for material and machine usage, respectively).
DREAM innovations are improving the manufacturing efficiency of PBF processes, due to cost and material reduction, as well as faster rates of turn-over. Novel designs, already finalised, allow an intelligent use of high cost materials only where they are strictly necessary, so much cheaper components are obtained.

Increased reliability of systems materials and consequently parts will be the result of coming activities. Improved functionality of components has already been achieved, through the novel geometries developed in WP1.

At the European and global level, DREAM is fostering a more widespread use of a manufacturing process that is not only cosst-competitive, but also environment-friendly, as shown by the results of WP5. The project is sustaining all factors for sustainable development based on PBF processes.

3) Innovation capacity
DREAM allowed to set up a transnational cooperation between research institutions, universities, material producing and equipment manufacturing companies, and the industrial end users. Knowledge transfer from R&D performers to industry as well as feedback routines from the industry to R&D performers has been established from the beginning of the project, towards producing innovative products to promote a new innovation oriented economy across Europe. The complementary skills and synergies within the Consortium are proving the ideal environment for the generation of new knowledge, know-how and the development of novel competitive products and services.

Among the targeted innovations, in the M1-18 period the project has already attained:
- design methodologies combining topological optimization and AM;
- topologically optimized orthopaedic implants with reduced risk of bone resorption;
- topologically optimized automotive components with tremendous weight reduction.

The results so far allowed Consortium partners to benefit from a reinforced industrial leadership, consisting in the offer of: novel services (MIND4D), optimized on-demand components produced with lower cost (POLYS), and more lightweight, more reliable, more functional end products (ADLEFR, FERRARI, RB).
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