Since November 2015, the „3D Composite Print (3D-CP)“ cooperation network has been researching new solutions for the industrialisation of additive manufacturing. The network is still accepting partners for the second phase of the project.

The 3D-CP network has now grown to nine partners, and their expertise includes component manufacturing, additive manufacturing, control and drive technology, as well as software. With new funding and specific project aims, the network is now taking the next step under the leadership of the Fraunhofer Project Group Process Innovation in Bayreuth, Germany. The network’s plans include improving the reproducibility, quality and speed of the technologies.

Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy as part of its Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), the cooperation network welcomes companies, universities and research institutes. „Any company stemming from the digitisation and additive manufacturing sectors, or with an interest in 3D printing and Industry 4.0, can approach us with their issues“, says Joachim Kleylein-Feuerstein, team leader of the project group.

Complex moulds and tools no longer required

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is a process by which components are produced not by milling or turning from a solid block, but by successively depositing layers of powder, liquids and filaments. Complex moulds and tools are therefore no longer required. What began as rapid prototyping 25 years ago can now also be used for manufacturing finished products. To achieve this, companies have to develop the quality of the products, as well as the process reliability of the plants. SMEs seldom have the necessary broad range of skills for this.

(Springer Professional)