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TWI to build new Additive Manufacturing platform

TWI has been developing 3D printing, or its more technical name additive manufacturing technology for many years. Its recent collaboration in the European ManSYS project will now contribute to the acceptance of 3D printing as a trustworthy and economically viable manufacturing technology in many industries, including aerospace, military and medical. Individual parts and products can be produced easily and cost-effectively such as personalised medical devices like dental crowns, in-ear devices and prostheses. These can also be easily modified after first production without the huge cost implications of tooling.



Additive manufacturing and 3D printing

Additive manufacturing covers a multitude of production technologies. Well known 3D printing technologies are stereo lithography (SLA), selective laser melting (SLM) and fused deposition modelling (FDM). These technologies work using the same principle of adding or hardening material ‘layer upon layer’. Traditional manufacturing technologies, like milling, subtract material to create a desired model. Excess material is turned into waste and as such is deemed inefficient. With additive manufacturing technologies, only the material required is used, bringing waste down to practically zero. This means the process is efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly. 

Further benefits

  • complex parts can be designed and produced  without the need for complex assemblies

  • innovative geometries

  • rapid prototyping

  • mass customisation is possible at low costs

  • small series of unique or redesigned parts become an economically viable option (no tooling required)

The ManSYS project, made up of 12 partners including TWI and supported by the European Commission, will develop an online platform for the design and procurement of 3D printed parts and products. The collaboration will develop a complete decision making system and robust supply chain management system for metal additive manufacturing, enabling production and delivery of quality assured, highly customised products and services: 

  • Decision support software supporting end users to decide whether 3D printing is applicable (affordable?) in their specific situation

  • Supply chain management system that allows for ‘easy’ adoption and management of 3D printing in the production process

  • Support network to (re-)design better or new products realising user-oriented high-value-added solutions.

Medical and aerospace demonstrators 

The platform will demonstrate production of essential parts from Smith & Nephew and Wisildent, as well as examples from GE Aviation..

It will give particular attention to the development of the quality assurance and quality control processes to ensure that the quality of the products complies with market and customer requirements. Also, the software to integrate various supply chain and business management systems will be developed.

The ManSYS Consortium  

The project consortium brings ample experience in high quality manufacturing of complex parts, software development, material and process quality control and business modelling. Together the participating companies cover the entire supply chain. 

More information

If you’d like to find out more or get involved in the ManSYS network, for instance as a service provider or a future user of the 3D printing platform, please visit the website or email