GKN Powder Metallurgy has announced further steps in its course towards Industry 4.0 with a new dedicated digital area for Metal Additive Manufacturing during an event at its plant in Bonn, Germany.
During a recent meeting with key customers and partners, the world’s largest producer of precision powder metallurgy products shared plans to start a Metal AM digital enterprise in Q2 2017 using best-in-class workflow, taking the most important aspects of the Industry 4.0 agenda from theory to practice.
Based on intelligent, connected systems, it will benefit from reduced lead times, enabling stronger customisation of products. On the process side, business partners will be much more involved in development and production.
GKN is working to drive innovations across the whole Metal AM value chain, from production of metal powder materials, AM design and manufacturing services. It will also provide the first fully digitised AM process chain in serial production for automotive, industrial and consumer products.
“As an innovation leader in Metal AM serial production, we are fully committed to taking a pioneering role in the industry in terms of digitalising our company and our offers. We will actively shape the future and demonstrate that we can do this with the next step we take with our Metal AM serial production plant,” stated Guido Degen, Senior Vice President Business Development & Advanced Technology.
Benefitting the complete value chain
It was stated that by concentrating on the implementation of digital and production processes, all work steps along the entire value chain will be substantially leaner and more efficient in the future. For example, this promises a noticeable reduction in development and production times in prototype construction in the automotive area. In addition, digital processes allow for considerable advantages compared to conventional process chain and production methods. GKN Powder Metallurgy added that the plant in Bonn will fulfil the ISO 16949 (automotive), AS 9100 (aerospace) and ISO 13485 (medical devices) certification norms.
Mix of technology and individual consulting
Individual consulting will continue to play a large role in product development and the optimisation of processes. “The combination of personal contact and technical pioneering spirit makes us successful. This is an indispensable part of our corporate DNA and naturally of our new corporate Metal AM strategy,” added Degen.