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Sweden zeros in on large-scale additive manufacturing: unveils MEUR 1.3 R&D project

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The idea of “printing” large components for industrial use is no longer unchartered territory. A new Swedish test bed run by Swerea IVF has unveiled the blueprint for an AM machine fitted with a 6-metre long track.

In Sweden, 3D printing of large-scale industrial components may become a reality sooner than most people think.

One of the highlights of 2017 in the R&D arena was the launch of DiLAM (Digitalized Large Scale Additive Manufacturing) – a Swedish project aimed at merging the digital and physical value chains of additive manufacturing for large plastic components such as automotive chassis parts and large tools.

The MEUR 1.3 programme will run until 2020 and was launched by Swerea IVF, a research group owned jointly by the Swedish state and industry. Based on close cross-disciplinary collaboration, the initiative will introduce a new testbed environment next year in response to increased market demand for AM techniques.

Its main attraction is a 3D printing machine equipped with a 6-metre long track.

Henrik Oxfall, Project Manager, Swerea IVF, comments on the ambitious plan.

“During the course of DiLAM, the entire production system around large-scale additive manufacturing will be digitised for full traceability. This will span everything from design methodology, visualisation and process planning to manufacturing and quality assurance. We aim to demonstrate how a fully-fledged digital set up can reduce thresholds and minimise risks associated with the introduction of large-scale additive manufacturing in Swedish industry,” he says.    

Big objects: holy grail of additive manufacturing

This is not the first time that Swerea IVF pursues the holy grail of additive manufacturing. In a previous collaboration with ABB, a new production technique was achieved whereby plastic extruders were fitted on an industrial robot to print large-scale objects.

Following extensive testing, DiLAM will present a series of case studies that exemplify how large-scale AM can increase flexibility and shorten lead times. Another target is to eliminate the need for expensive tooling in several large-scale applications.

With the DiLAM R&D project, Swerea IVD brings together broad competences from academia and industry including experts from Chalmers University of Technology, ABB Robotics, SICK, Robot System Products (RSP), KFM Maskin, Nederman, Randek, Cipax, Melker of Sysslebäck, Skara Modell & Prototyp, Svenska Woody, Prodma, Combitech, Unibap, BLB Industries and Torsby county council.

DiLAM is financed by Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas as part of the strategic innovation programme Produktion 2030.