On March 27, 2019, the joint project IDAM held its kick-off meeting in Munich, which was intended to lead the way for furthering the use of AM processes in automotive series production. The project partners, including 11 leading industry stakeholders and SMEs, are eager to transfer metallic 3D printing into an industrialized and highly automated series process for the automotive industry.
Sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the goal of IDAM is to promote the “Industrialization and Digitization of Additive Manufacturing (AM) for Automotive Series Processes”. By integrating metallic 3D printing into the conventional production lines of the automotive industry, IDAM’s plans to be able to produce at least 50,000 components per year in mass production and over 10,000 individual and spare parts – at the highest quality and under extreme cost pressure – with the AM production lines in the near future. The IDAM project’s targets are looking to replace cost and time consuming processes, such as the production of molds, and to meet the desire for product customization at no extra cost.
There are 12 partners total working within the project via IDAM, and BMW Group is behind much of this push. According to Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, the use of metallic 3D printing should sustainably strengthen Germany’s technological pioneering role and the country itself as a manufacturing location.
Two modular and almost completely automated AM production lines are being installed. One is at the BMW Group’s Additive Manufacturing Center in Munich and another is at automotive supplier GKN Powder Metallurgy’s factory in Bonn. They cover the entire process, from digital to physical component manufacturing to post-processing. “In addition, their process steps can be controlled and utilized flexibly,” states Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in their press release. “By taking an integrated view of the automotive production line into account, the project partners plan on reducing the manual share of activities along the process chain from currently around 35 percent to less than 5 percent. In addition, the unit costs of 3D-printed metal components should be more than halved.”
As part of the project, the IDAM partners will develop a series-ready and modular production facility for metallic 3D printing, which include automated processes for powder handling, monitoring and post-processing.
“Since large industrial companies are involved, these linked modules can be used in the AM production lines under real conditions and on a large scale,” explains the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT. “In addition, industrial standards can be set and industry-relevant quality characteristics elaborated. Only through this interdisciplinary cooperation does the IDAM project make it possible to holistically examine metallic 3D printing for automotive series processes and to establish it sustainably in production.”
Project partners include:
Source: 3ders site