The Large Additive Subtractive Integrated Modular Machine (LASIMM) project has announced that the hybrid machine, which offers metal Additive Manufacturing and subtractive manufacturing capabilities, is now ready to build demonstrator parts.
The new system, said to be one of the world’s largest hybrid manufacturing machines, is expected to be capable of manufacturing large pieces of metal and large parts and structures for construction. It was developed by ten partners with funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research innovation programme, in the hope of reducing costs and improving efficiency by producing a machine with the capability to manufacture components for the most demanding industries, directly from CAD models.
The machine will now be tested to manufacture demonstrator part designed by industrial end-users. It offers capabilities for Additive Manufacturing, machining, cold-work, metrology and inspection, said to deliver a 20% reduction in time and cost expenditure, as well as a 15% increase in productivity for high-volume Additive Manufacturing.
It also includes a modular configuration of industrial robot arms for the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium and steel, and a specialised milling robot for machining away surplus material to provide the final finish. This process will enable entire large-scale industries to move away from standardised components and towards bespoke solutions for industries such as aerospace, renewables, energy, transport, construction and more.
In the field of software, the LASIMM project is also endeavouring to move from a single machine process CAM towards a multi-machine multi-process CAM, driving hybrid machines where multiple processes are combined to manufacture the end component.
Eurico Assuncao, Deputy Director at the European Federation for Welding, Joining and Cutting (EWF) and LASIMM Project Coordinator, stated, “While 3D printing for consumers and makers has received a great deal of publicity, it is within the industrial manufacturing and construction industries that this technology could have its most significant and lasting impact.”
“Its use has now reached a tipping point and this technological achievement will pave the way to enable entire construction infrastructures to be 3D printed in the future,” he continued. “At EWF, we are hard at work to ensure these advanced equipments are handled by adequately trained and qualified professionals. We are thrilled to be part of this unique project.”
LASIMM’s project partners include the European Federation for Welding, Joining and Cutting, BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd., Foster + Partners Limited, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Cranfield University, Global Robots Ltd., Loxin2002, S.L., Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung GmbH, Autodesk Limited, and Instituto Superior Técnico.