Collaborative innovation accelerates 3D printing in factories
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The Additive Factory Hub wants to remove the barriers to the standardisation of additive manufacturing, as Actemium is doing with its laser of the future workshop.
In December 2017 at the Plateau de Saclay cluster, several French businesses and academic institutions inaugurated the Additive Factory Hub, a consortium which pools resources and skills with the aim of accelerating the standardisation of additive manufacturing (AM) or so-called 3D printing. The initiative has been welcomed by Thomas Leseigneur, innovation manager at Actemium, the VINCI Energies brand dedicated to industrial processes. He believes that: “This collaborative approach is the best way to address the questions that numerous manufacturers still have about adopting 3D printers in their workshops.”
A collaborative approach is the best way to address the questions that numerous manufacturers have about 3D
It’s exactly this type of approach that is at the core of the “Atelier Laser du futur” (ALAFU), or laser of the future workshop, developed by Actemium. The ALAFU project was set up by bringing together the strengths and experiences of several Actemium business units. It aims to present AM as a real mass production solution and above all as a reliable, sound, and controlled technology.
Leseigneur explains, “Product qualification, which impacts the decision to produce a part using additive manufacturing or a more conventional method, is a key area of focus for 3D entrepreneurs. As is the characterisation of metal powders. It’s this powder, deposited layer by layer and treated by laser, which forms the material of the finished part. The challenge is to ensure the consistency, grading, purity, uniqueness and, ultimately, reliability of these parts.”
The ALAFU project specifically includes a powder processing system and a flaw detector for produced parts, a crucial aspect of the work being carried out by the Additive Factory Hub partners. An integrator of production lines as well as AM workshops, Actemium is involved both in forward-looking analysis and implementation, recently installing a comprehensive powder processing facility covering storage, characterisation, distribution and recycling, for one of its clients.