InShaPe makes metal-based Additive Manufacturing faster, cheaper, and more sustainable
In many industrial sectors, such as in the automotive industry, in aerospace or in the energy sector, the demand for lightweight metal components with a high mechanical strength, like modern gas turbines, is increasing. An important manufacturing process for this is the powder-bed fusion process of metals using a laser beam (PBF-LB/M). Depending on the application, the process is not yet always competitive compared to conventional production processes in terms of unit costs. The research and innovation project InShaPe aims to make a decisive contribution to the further development of this technology.
Objectives of InShaPe
The overall project aim is to develop and demonstrate a novel first-time-right powder bed fusion process of metals using laser beam (PBF-LB/M) in four different industrial use cases that is enabled by two technical innovations:
- Flexible adaptation of laser beam shapes tailored to the material/geometry of the printed parts, underpinned by a high-power optical module with programmable intensity distributions and AI-techniques to determine the optimal beam shapes for the target value (e.g., determined by material type) and
- A multi-spectral in-line process monitoring & control system for predictive quality analysis, enabled by transferring the multi-spectral imaging technology into the Additive Manufacturing domain. The InShaPe process will enable the Additive Manufacturing (AM) of high-potential materials not printable so far, be characterized by:
- a seven times higher build rate,
- over 50% lower cost
- and enable a truly green manufacturing with over 60% less energy use and 30% less scrap.
InShaPe will contribute to increasing the productivity, innovation capacity, resilience, sustainability, and global competitiveness of the European PBF-LB/M sector. InShaPe also plays a significant role in increasing the sustainability of industries with a high energy consumption across the four use cases in the project: aviation, automotive, space and power generation, as many of the pivotal technologies that underpin these industries use parts manufactured via PBF-LB/M-processes.
In the long term, the successful development and marketing of InShaPe technologies is intended to strengthen the European PBF-LB/M manufacturing industry as a leading provider of highly complex parts and set new best-in-class standards for digital, resource-efficient, and agile laser-based production methods.
Under the coordination of the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the Professorship of Laser-based Additive Manufacturing, ten partners from seven countries are working together on the project.
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