VDMA developing Additive Manufacturing roadmaps for Smart Factory

November 20, 2018

November 20, 2018

Member companies of the Additive Manufacturing Association of the VDMA, Germany’s Mechanical Engineering Industry Association, have developed new detailed roadmaps for Additive Manufacturing which outline, step-by-step, the path to the development of the Smart Factory.

The VDMA Additive Manufacturing Association is comprised of around 150 member companies and research institutes covering all steps of the AM value chain, from design software to construction, system control, building and consumable materials, to AM systems for diverse technologies in metal and plastic AM. Member companies also include suppliers of post-processing and automation solutions and air purification and vacuum conveyor technology.

Dr Markus Heering, Managing Director of the VDMA Additive Manufacturing Association, stated, “Our roadmaps are firmly built on the ground of comprehensive industrial experience.” In the roadmapping process, companies representing each step in the value chain have shared their perspective on the current state of technology and on potential future developments, enabling a clarification of priorities for those technology developers and users that participated, while also enabling participants to reach an agreement about standardised terms and interfaces during this process.

The members of the VDMA Additive Manufacturing Association stated that they are convinced of the potentials for series production using Additive Manufacturing, and there is said to be a high degree of willingness within the association to come to agreements for the purpose of fast industrialisation. “Against this background, our discussion process has developed a very special dynamic,” commented Rainer Gebhardt, Project Manager of the VDMA Additive Manufacturing Association. “If you look at it closely, you will find already today hotbeds for comprehensive automation and a consistent in-process quality control. We need to make them available to industrial users as quickly as possible.”

The project participants identified the post-processing of AM parts as being most in need of development to enable series production. “Only automation of the various work steps will allow for economical and sustainable production with Additive Manufacturing technologies,” stated Christoph Hauck, Chairman of the Board of the VDMA Additive Manufacturing Association and Managing Director of MBFZ Toolcraft GmbH. “It is here in particular that research and development need to be advanced so as to strengthen the competitive position of AM technologies. The experience gathered as well as integration of traditional manufacturing technologies all offer a large potential for optimisation.”

The VDMA Additive Manufacturing Association reported that it has identified a cross-process need for R&D in the developed roadmaps. Many problems in materials logistics, the EHS area, data processing, and process standardisation would be virtually impossible for a single company to tackle independently; in order to address these issues, the involvement of research associations bringing together the experience and know how of diverse areas and industries is of key importance.

“We are convinced that our roadmaps provide an accurate summary of the work schedule for the next years,” stated Heering. “Now, politically responsible persons of vision and innovative fellow campaigners from diverse sectors are needed for us to quickly work through this programme. We need to watch out so that we will not waste our good starting position and then watch the innovation train leave without us.”


November 20, 2018

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