The new Innovation Center Additive Manufacturing (ICAM) was inaugurated at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) in Dresden, Germany, on March 7, 2019. Here, the Dresden research institute is combining various technologies for Additive Manufacturing in a newly-constructed technology hall, in order to be able to demonstrate to partners and users the wide range of possibilities for the AM of components under one roof in the future.
The newly opened ICAM houses several systems for Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion (EB-PBF), including the Q20plus from Arcam EBM, Mölndal, Sweden. This system is said to have the largest build chamber currently available for EB-PBF. In addition, the facility is set to install an AMCC (Additive Manufacturing Complete and Compact) line in the coming weeks. The AMCC line is a prototype production line for the AM of components by Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), developed by project partner Xerion, Berlin, Germany.
Fraunhofer IFAM also has several systems available for the three-dimensional ‘screen printing’ of components, including one said to be the world’s most modern in the R&D field. In this technology based on conventional industrial screen printing, a paste based on metal powders is ‘printed’ layer on layer, said to enable higher precision and have potential for mass production. The materials fit for the process can reportedly be freely selected and, if necessary, combined in the area of metallic and ceramic materials.
This portfolio is further supplemented by three-dimensional ‘stencil printing’. In contrast to the screen printing method, structured metal foils are used instead of the printing screen to generate components. The institute stated that some advantages of 3D stencil printing compared to 3D screen printing are the potentially better surface quality and increased layer thickness.
With the opening of the ICAM, Fraunhofer IFAM stated that it has taken into account the institute’s successful developments in the field of Additive Manufacturing in recent years and is further expanding its potential. The institute offers partners from industry and research a wide range of services in the form of feasibility studies, the evaluation of powders for AM and the qualification of new materials, as well as assistance with component development, starting with the powder and continuing through design to production and post-processing.
The combination of such a range of different AM technologies in one location is expected to make it possible for the institute to offer tailor-made solutions for a wide range of production questions from a single source. Together with the Fraunhofer IFAM Bremen site, which offers additional capabilities in the form of its installed Metal Injection Moulding, metal Binder Jetting and Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) technology, Fraunhofer IFAM believes that it now has one of the most comprehensive ranges of advanced manufacturing technologies.