The Advanced Materials and Processing Laboratory (AMPLab) based in the interdisciplinary research centre (IRC) within the School of Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham, UK, is embarking on a new project in January funded by the European Union’s FP7 Programme called AMAZE – Additive Manufacturing Aiming Towards Zero Waste and Efficient Production of High-Tech Metal Powders.
Nick Adkins at AMPLab states that the overarching goal of AMAZE is to rapidly produce large defect-free Additively Manufactured (AM) metallic components up to 2 metres in size, ideally with close to zero waste, for use in aeronautics, space, automotive, nuclear fusion, and tooling.
Four pilot-scale industrial AM factories will be established and enhanced by 2016 with the objective of giving EU manufacturers and end users a world-dominant position with respect to AM production of high-value metallic parts. A further aim is to achieve 50% cost reduction for finished parts, compared to traditional processing.
During the 4 ½ year programme AMAZE will also aim to dramatically increase the commercial use of adaptronics, in-situ sensing, process feedback, novel post-processing and clean-rooms in AM, so that overall quality levels are improved, dimensional accuracy is increased by 25%, build rates are increased by a factor of 10, and industrial scrap rates are slashed to <5%.
Scientifically, the critical links between alloy composition, powder/wire production, additive processing, microstructural evolution, defect formation and the final properties of metallic AM parts will be examined and understood. This knowledge will be used to validate multi-level process models that can predict AM processes, part quality and performance.
The €18.8 million research project embraces 31 partners, 21 from industry, eight from academia including AMPLab and the Mathematics Dept at Birmingham, and two from intergovernmental agencies. This is said to represent the largest and most ambitious team ever assembled on AM.