Sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and coordinated by the BMW Group, IDAM is a research project with the aim of transferring metal Additive Manufacturing technology into an industrialised and highly automated process, specifically for the automotive industry. The consortium, consisting of twelve project partners including SMEs, large companies and research institutions, held its first meeting on March 27 in Munich, Germany.
With funding totalling over €20 million, the project titled ‘Industrialisation and Digitisation of Additive Manufacturing for Automotive Series Processes’ (IDAM) will run for three years. According to the project leaders, integrating metal Additive Manufacturing into conventional automotive production lines will enable them to replace costly and time-consuming processes, such as the production of moulds, as well as meeting a demand for product customisation at no extra cost.
Within the IDAM consortium, metal Additive Manufacturing is being implemented at both the BMW Group’s Additive Manufacturing Centre in Munich, and GKN Powder Metallurgy’s facility in Bonn, Germany. It is here that the IDAM team is qualifying metal AM technology for the specific requirements of producing identical parts as well as individual and spare parts. The team believes that it should be possible to mass produce at least 50,000 components per year, as well as over 10,000 individual and spare parts, using AM production lines.
The two modular and almost completely automated AM production lines, being established in Bonn and Munich, are expected to cover the entire process from component design to build to post-processing. Individual modules can be adapted to different production requirements thanks to the modular construction of the line and, if necessary, replaced.
By taking an integrated view of the automotive production line into account, the project partners plan on reducing the manual share of activities along the process chain from around 35% to less than 5%. Additionally, the unit costs of additively manufactured metal components are expected to be more than halved.
The project is drawing on the expertise of the SMEs involved in the consortium for the design, provision and connection of the individual modules of the AM production line. These include the automation of interfaces between the individual process steps or, as part of the project, developing series-ready and modular production facilities for metal Additive Manufacturing.
Other modular process components, such as powder handling, monitoring and automated post-processing, are also being developed by relevant SMEs, while the research institutions supporting the project are developing tools for process control, digital twin and quality improvements, among others. These linked modules will be used in AM production lines under real conditions and on a large scale.
The partners involved in the IDAM research project include:
- Aconity GmbH, Herzogenrath
- Concept Reply GmbH, Munich
- Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, Aachen
- GKN Powder Metallurgy, Radevormwald
- Myrenne GmbH, Roetgen
- Intec GmbH – Ingenieurbüro für Automatisierungstechnik, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler
- Kinexon Industries GmbH, Munich
- Chair for Digital Additive Production DAP, RWTH Aachen, Aachen
- Technical University of Munich, Chair of Metal Forming and Casting, Munich
- Schmitz Spezialmaschinenbau GmbH, Rheinbreitbach
- Volkmann GmbH, Soest