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Additive manufacturing: a mechanical revolution is underway!

A new industry is emerging and is revolutionising the value paths and economic organisation of production lines. The design and manufacture of parts as well as the the layout of plants and stock management have completely changed. A new system is being formed and certain mechanical engineering companies are already prepared for this change.

Additive manufacturing, an exciting and emerging technology with boundless possibilities has permeated the jewellery making, goldsmiths, dental implants and medical device industries. It can also be found in the aeronautics, rail transports and automobile sectors. Many industrial manufacturers have done the right thing and have already been prepared for this revolution for several years now. Some of them, such as Alstom, Airbus, Fives, Gorgé Group, Michelin, Médicréa, 3D&P, etc. are positioning themselves to play a major role in this new economy or to become a part of the new value chain which is currently being created. Initiatives are being implemented in all areas, such as with regard to powders, so as to avoid excessive dependence on suppliers as well as in terms of the design, finishing and inspection of parts. It goes without saying that with additive manufacturing, the entire production and inspection chain will have to be reviewed. However these processes hold multiple possibilities for the mechanical engineering industry. They offer the possibility to quickly manufacture complex components in a single unit allowing savings on materials and with almost no assembly.

Nevertheless switching to additive manufacturing is not a trivial undertaking! “You have to shift your mindset and break free from the conventional design alternatives”, stated Gilles Allory from Cetim. This process also requires “better connection of the topological optimisation software applications to the CAD ones”, continued Frédéric Vignat from Grenoble INP.

Cetim at the forefront of the process

Within the Carnot “Manufacturing” sector, the Cetim Carnot Institute coordinates various actions to develop multiCarnot additive manufacturing services and make it easier for companies to gain access to these markets. To further these initiatives, it calls upon technological demonstration platforms and consulting operations to design products, select the material (thermoplastic or metallic) and its process (with or without laser fusion and electron beam).

Other actions are carried out in connection with the Industry of the Future Alliance and consideration is being given to setting up national coordination within a structure to be created. Moreover, Cetim’s Orthopée programme which is also moving forward and the Cetim-Certec platform is operational. In addition agreements have been signed with CEA Tech, CEA List and CEA Liten with regard to the setup of a mutualised research programme with industrial manufacturers concerning non-destructive testing of parts produced through additive manufacturing.

Consult our special file on additive manufacturing to read the views of industrial manufacturers and obtain practical advice in Cetim Infos No. 233 of March 2016 (file to be downloaded here). You can also receive more information on this topic on cetim.fr.

(03/25/2016)

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