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TWI Working on Collaborative ‘AM-LINE 4.0’ Project

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Tue, 05 November, 2019

Background

TWI is one of nine project partners aiming to increase the take-up of additive manufacturing (AM) among Danish industrial companies, as a recent survey showed that just 4% of small and medium-sized Danish companies use the process.

The AM-LINE 4.0 project is working to create a new demonstration and knowledge centre for industrial 3D printing in metal, so that smaller businesses feel confident in using the technology for their production lines.

Innovation Fund Denmark have invested 35 million Danish krone into the project, bringing the total investment up to 88 million krone. The new demonstration and knowledge centre, which opened on 30 August 2018, has been built on existing 3D printing facilities at the Danish Technological Institute in Aarhus, which installed its first 3D printer back in 1989.

During the last decade they began to work with 3D printing in metal and now have five metal printers and machines connected for applications including materials processing and surface treatment.

About AM-LINE 4.0

AM-LINE 4.0 brings together existing knowledge with new techniques to create a complete value chain for the production of competitive metallic components. This chain includes the development of a business model, optimised designs, and quality certification. Working alongside universities and industry, the project will create a physical and digital production layer providing defect-free parts, including the use of Digital Twin technologies. This will be expanded to include all steps for the manufacturing process and demonstrate the use of AM in a full-scale industrial production set-up. To achieve this, and the subsequent transfer to industry and the small/medium Danish companies, all of the supporting processes will be fully matured.

Objectives

There are four main objectives for the AM-LINE 4.0 project. Firstly to develop and implement a full-scale AM production line with a capacity reaching TRL8 as a knowledge creation and tech-transfer demonstration centre.

The second objective is to remove the barriers that prevent a widespread implementation of metal additive manufacturing through a collaboration with specialised SMEs, international project partners, and research bodies.

The third objective is to accelerate partner training of key employees in business development, design, production, quality and safety.

Finally, the project aims to generate accessible and qualified resources in the Danish labour market via awareness training for executives and in-depth training of engineers and operators to support the adoption of AM in Danish manufacturing.

Benefits

The AM-LINE 4.0 project seeks to provide a number of benefits for industry, including the cost reductions associated with the redesign of products for AM production. These costs are expected to be reduced by 40% during the project period, rising to 75% in 5-7 years.

Of course, the overriding aim of the project is to encourage AM use among metal-based manufacturing companies in Denmark, with the technology being applicable to over 1,000 businesses and affecting over 10,000 jobs.

The project is set to encourage a faster adoption of AM technology, shortening take-up times from 3-5 years to just 1-3 years. This is being encouraged by the consortium’s work with additional companies who are defining their research agendas for AM technologies.

AM take-up across Denmark will also be encouraged by the expiry of key patents, meaning that leading AM parts are expected to become 50% cheaper and up to 400% faster in the next five years.

With the establishment of a professional, national network of skilled employees, there should also be an increased speed for bringing new products to market due to fast and flexible production in compliance with product specifications and quality targets. This will be coupled with the handling of safety issues including factory layout and precautions for personnel working with AM.

The increase in AM use should also provide social implications around changing working conditions, physically, digitally and mentally in relation to industry 4.0 technologies.

Project Partners

As one of nine project partners, TWI’s expertise in the latest knowledge related to additive manufacturing will ensure that this project builds on previous experience and results to ensure a fast start-up phase. 

Other partners in the project include:

Danish Technological Institute (DTI) - an innovative research and consulting institute that develops new technologies and translates knowledge into products that have real value for companies and communities.

Grundfos - a global leader in advanced pump solutions and a frontrunner in water technology.

Danfoss - leaders in research, production and development of mechanical and electronic components and system solutions on a global scale.

DTU - a technical elite university with an international scope whose mission is to develop and utilise science and technology for the benefit of society.

Adimant - a business offering software and services for industrial 3D printing, while helping companies take full advantage of the possibilities of 3D printing.

Scada Minds – A company with extensive experience gathering Big Data from the wind turbine industry, they provide valuable solutions for customers through intelligent and creative use of data.

NIRAS - With a wide range of expertise in process engineering, industry and construction of energy, environment, water and supply to infrastructure, development assistance and urban planning, NIRAS contributes to solutions to major societal challenges.

Manufacturing Academy of Denmark (MADE) – a leading production country through research, innovation and education.

TWI’s Lead

Leading the project for TWI is Welding Systems Team Manager, Darren Williams. Darren and his team work to ensure that TWI Members benefit from the latest developments in digital manufacturing, focussing on challenges and providing innovative project-based solutions while also leading TWI’s digital automation strategy.

You can find out more about the AM-LINE 4.0 Project here.

For more information please email:


contactus@twi.co.uk