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BRIEF | FORUM FOR GLOBAL DEBATE


Every two years the Fraunhofer Additive Manufacturing Alliance organises the Direct Digital Manufacturing Conference (DDMC), which is widely regarded within the industry as a world-leading forum for discussion on a variety of important subjects. Topics include not only its application in industry and the environmental impact of such new manufacturing technologies, but also the overall impact on health, sustainability and technology. It is a global event that bring together researchers, educators and practitioners with a view to developing new ideas and refining existing research developments.


Credit : ddmc-fraunhofer.de


This year was due to mark the fifth event but in fact saw the first virtual version. The event was broadcasted live from the Fraunhofer Forum in Berlin with almost 20 speakers dialing in from all over the world. The event was a success with four keynotes, short pitches by young researchers, lively discussions and award ceremonies.


methods. Their morphology and material composition influence not only how they can be worked during the manufacturing process, but also – and critically – the component properties that can be achieved. As the basis for many innovative products and to optimise additive manufacturing processes, the Fraunhofer Institute applies technologies to adapt the powdered materials to suit the manufacturing processes and product properties. To achieve this, the powdered materials are coated with a thin layer using physical vapour deposition (PVD) or atomic layer deposition (ALD). These can address a range of functions, depending on the coating material used. For example, the coating material can be used to micro- alloy metal powders to optimise specific critical material properties, such as crack-sensitivity or ductility. Flow properties can be significantly improved as well, enabling even the highest agglomerating powders to be processed. This makes it possible to adjust the electrical conductivity of the powder – and thus of the end product – and improve its corrosion resistance. Future developments will focus on the deposition of thin, hard material layers, for example, which will open up new opportunities for material development. There is also an interest in scaling to larger production volumes to make industrial implementation possible. The Fraunhofer Generative Manufacturing alliance also offers individually adapted materials for any special applications, individual processes and entire process chains, which can also take conventional technologies into account. Simulation is now considered a standard tool in product development and optimisation in many industry sectors. The finite element method (FEM) is routinely used to test the structural mechanics of components.


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