Swedish research centre to accelerate industrial use of additive manufacturing
21 October 2021
ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING enables a paradigm shift for many sectors including aerospace, automotive, telecoms and consumer goods.
Combining additive manufacturing – or 3D printing – with new sustainable materials, allows for a more flexible and resource-efficient production. But for companies to be able to fully utilise the strength of the technology, support is needed in every step along the supply chain ranging from development of new business models to product design and testing in a real production environment. Therefore, RISE is opening up the Application Centre for Additive Manufacturing together with industrial and academic partners. The centre is based in Mölndal in the Västra Götaland region of Sweden, close to the industrial hub of Gothenburg where Volvo Group, Volvo Cars, Ericsson and SKF have their headquarters.
Additive manufacturing enables a paradigm shift for the industry and is relevant for many sectors such as the aerospace, space, automotive, telecom, maritime, and consumer goods to name a few. Some of the advantages are the mass customization enabling unique tailor-made components that are produced with minimal material waste and that are optimized with regards to their weight. The global market for additive manufacturing is expected to continue to grow, and for metallic materials the market is expected to increase by a factor of two by 2025.
"By gathering end users, suppliers of services, technology and materials with our researchers and experts at RISE, the Application Centre for Additive Manufacturing enable us to form a robust national ecosystem for additive manufacturing in Sweden," says Seyed Hosseini, Director of Application Centre for Additive Manufacturing.
In the centre, the industrial partners will have access to the latest research carried out by the research partners, test and demonstrate different additive manufacturing technologies including their pre- and post-operations, as well as access expertise and competence along the supply chain. To be successful in such an environment, collaboration, and cooperation between all partners in the centre is vital as each partner has unique competence and experience. The centre creates an independent and open environment for such collaboration to take place in Sweden.
"The centre is a good example of how we gather expertise along the entire value chain and create a way to accelerate digital development in the Swedish industry. Additive manufacturing has great potential and now RISE can boost this transformation in taking important steps forward," says Pia Sandvik, CEO at RISE.
"Additive manufacturing is one of the new resource-efficient manufacturing technologies that, in addition to more circular material flows, is needed to make the future industry more sustainable. The investment in the Application Centre for Additive Manufacturing both broadens and strengthens Västra Götaland's position in innovation and sustainable and digital manufacturing technologies," says Kristina Jonäng (C), chair of the regional development committee in the Västra Götaland region.
Fifteen partners are onboard from the start. The target group for the centre is manufacturing companies, both large, small and medium-sized, but also suppliers of materials, software and equipment for additive manufacturing. The partnership provides the opportunity to take full advantage of the skills and infrastructure that exist. With the help of the centre, the threshold for testing and evaluation of technology can be reduced.
"To be successful in additive manufacturing, you have to take care of the entire process, from equipment, printing process, finishing processes to quality assurance of the components. These are issues that need to be addressed, and we cannot do it ourselves, but cooperation between several parties is required," says Vladimir Navrotsky, vice president technology and innovation, Siemens Energy.
"I hope that the results of the evaluations we do within the centre will lead us to be mature in making our own decisions about which processes we will roll out in different operations and that we get a good decision basis for our own strategy going forward," says Johan Svenningstorp, director of research and technology development, truck operations, Volvo Group.
"It is vital for Swedish industry to increase research in the field of additive manufacturing because large parts of the global transport industry invest heavily in the field. We need an expansion of Swedish high-tech industry to get competition on equal terms globally. For Ericsson's products, additive manufacturing can lead to a reduction of energy needed in the overall development and throughout the product life cycle. We look forward to developing this together with RISE and the companies included in the Application Centre for Additive Manufacturing," says Mikael Wahlén, project manager, hardware research at Ericsson.
The Application Centre for Additive Manufacturing is run by RISE together with the centre's 15 partners: AddUp, Alfa Laval, Chalmers, Digital Metal, DNA.am, Ericsson, Höganäs, Materialise, Modul-System HH, Nikon Metrology Europe, RENA Technologies Austria, Ringhals (Vattenfall), Siemens Energy, Volvo Cars, Volvo Group and through support from the Västra Götaland region, Vinnova and European Regional Development Fond. It is physically located at RISE in Mölndal but uses the entire research institute's expertise and knowledge.