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Customers are increasingly viewing both production processes and the life-cycle of products in terms of sustainability. As a result, two of the biggest growth areas are the use of additives and particle simulation, which we discuss in detail here


INDUSTRIAL 3D PRINTING - MORE COMMONLY KNOWN AS ADDITIVE OR GENERATIVE MANUFACTURING - IS GROWING in importance at a huge pace. New areas of application are taking shape and advances are constantly being made in material development and process optimisation. Many of the materials used come in powdered form and require the expertise of powder specialists in their manufacture, quality assurance, processing and logistics. Additive manufacturing had its origins in rapid prototyping. The crucial advantages of


reducing cycle times from


product development to manufacturing to market launch, have all opened the way for this emerging technology to be used extensively in mass production. It is now possible to customise products and incorporate additional functions without difficulty in much shorter timeframes and at lower costs. Additive manufacturing may therefore give companies an excellent opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition, act more swiftly, and use fewer resources throughout their entire manufacturing process chains. This method of manufacture has now found its way into many industries. It offers new opportunities both for sophisticated fields such as Healthcare, Automotive and Mobility and Aerospace, as well as mass markets such as Lifestyle and Consumer Goods or Production and Industry. The focus is always on establishing points of differentiation and remaining viable for the long-term using industrial 3D


printing. Finding the best way to integrate the complex variety represented by this future-oriented manufacturing technology has become the responsibility of the Fraunhofer “Generative Manufacturing” alliance which was created for the purpose. The alliance brings together 20 Fraunhofer Institutes throughout Germany that deal with additive manufacturing with a focus on research into materials, technology, engineering, quality, and software and simulation - in other words, the entire process chain.


THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ALLIANCE Materials research provides answers to current questions in the areas of energy, healthcare, mobility, IT, construction and living. The latest lightweight materials save costs and energy, ceramic micro fuel cells supply power to electronic devices, and new materials based on sustainable resources ease the burden on the environment. As far as additive manufacturing is concerned, all the


institutes in the alliance focus on: ●


● ● Metals - steels, titanium and aluminium


Ceramics - oxides, carbides, silicates and bioactive ceramics


Plastics - polymers/thermoplastic materials. Metallic, ceramic as well as polymer-based powders serve directly, or are incorporated into filaments to serve as raw materials for the most additive manufacturing


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