Discover more about the topics and technologies to be discussed at this year's conference, via a series of exclusive interviews with a selection of our expert speakers
Marius Bierdel project manager at Fraunhofer EMI, explains why additive manufacturing need no longer be confined to rapid prototyping. His colleague Konstantin Kappe will go into more depth on this topic in a PMW Expo engineering workshop.
What is the background to your workshop?
Additive manufacturing technologies, also known as 3D printing, are no longer just used for manufacturing prototypes and mock-ups. These days, this technology can also be used to produce final parts. The possibility of manufacturing metal parts in particular gives rise to high-performance applications across industries such as space, aerospace, security and defense, medical and, of course, the automobile industry.
Additive manufacturing can help to break down two fundamental trade-offs: capital versus scale and capital versus scope. It allows for faster development cycles, manufacturing on demand and functional integration across industries. At the same time, additive manufacturing requires a new way of managing processes and logistics chains. It also opens up possibilities for new design methods.
What kinds of components is additive manufacturing most suited to?
Currently, additive manufacturing is still most useful in cases where the number of parts to be manufactured is relatively small, especially when the component to be manufactured is structurally complex. In the automotive industry, both of these characteristics are found in the production of high-end cars such as the BMW i8 or in the context of race series. Applications for additive manufacturing are no longer just found in the area of rapid prototyping but can increasingly be used for rapid tooling and rapid manufacturing.
How is your research broadening and enhancing the applications for additive manufacturing?
Using additive manufacturing for finished components brings a certain degree of design freedom that was not previously possible. With this new-found freedom come questions of how to effectively apply the technology generally, and how to manufacture high-quality metal parts.
At Fraunhofer EMI, we are looking into both of these aspects and, together with our industrial partners, we are implementing design processes and customized additive manufacturing process parameters for specific material behaviors.
What will be the main takeaway for people who attend your workshop?
As experts in additive manufacturing, we are always interested in new challenges and problems. We believe that our extensive knowledge – which so far has mainly been concentrated on the space and aerospace sectors – can be applied to high-end applications in motorsports to yield impressive results.
In the workshop at PMW Expo we will offer an overview of the latest results of our research projects, such as in the design process: chain development, lattice structure integration and manufacturing, process parameter development, material behavior adaptation, satellite structure design, and manufacturing.
Catch Fraunhofer’s free-to-attend workshop (German Language), Metal additive manufacturing in high-performance applications, on the third day of Professional MotorSport World Expo. View the full program here.