Additive manufacturing (AM) offers many advantages. Due to the lack of design limitations, virtually any geometries are possible, including highly complex shapes, without significant additional expenses. The manufacturing process does not require any tools. With conventional production, in comparison, the components have to be manufactured in a more elaborate manner using different metal working processes such as turning, milling or welding. At present, the individual process steps required to produce an additively manufactured product are largely self-contained and performed manually. This means that they are often time-consuming and do not add value.
The main goal of the IDEA project is to speed up the industrialisation of additive manufacturing for the German industry. This is to be achieved by setting up a fully integrated, automated AM production line. The line integration of additive manufacturing aims to reduce product costs and development and throughput times by 50%. In addition, an increase in product quality and reproducibility is expected. Fourteen partners will work together during the course of the project to reach these goals, increasing their competitiveness in the process.
The IDEA project is split into four phases: development (I), implementation (II), test and validation (III) and transfer and industrialisation (IV). The first phase involves the development of standardised interfaces along the process chain. These provide the basis for the realisation of an automated, fully integrated AM production line. The production line is then due to be built in phase II and tested in phase III using generic and component-specific criteria (key performance indicators – KPI). Phases I to III are to be repeated iteratively until the desired criteria are met. This is to be followed by phase IV, the transfer and industrialisation phase, which is the last stage of the project before the application of the results.