What to expect from AM Integrated Factory?

AM Integrated Factory

Sirris invests in a project which will allow it to integrate additive manufacturing and the necessary operations for the finishing of these products in the production lines of our industry. With it Sirris wants to offer a solution for existing and future challenges.

While the volumes of products manufactured via AM are still low, upscaling these volumes will present a problem in the future. If we want to make large quantities of AM parts in an automated, flexible and monitored and connected process, the knowledge and technology requires further development. AM will, for example, be integrated in the production systems of companies, both in existing systems and systems in development.

The integration process today is still in the initial phase and is aimed primarily at offering integrated stand-alone manufacturing solutions on the basis of AM for very specific applications. An industrial level of integration with production operations requires a multidisciplinary approach which joins expertise in production and technology in different fields, such as - obviously - additive manufacturing, precision processing, digital production, transparent factories and agile/flexible production setups.

First-time-right

From the perspective of production technology, Sirris combines the state-of-the-art knowledge in precision production and additive manufacturing in its AM Integrated Factory. We now focus on investing and developing knowledge about production processes, in order to accomplish first-time-right production options with additive manufacturing in combination with precision production in the finishing phase.

Because both AM and precision production (e.g. through milling and laser processing) require high investments, it is essential to use these technologies only for production of components which can also return a high added value.  Combining technologies should even strengthen this high added value. To make it economically feasible it is essential to work with a first-time-right approach. The technological developments by Sirris will focus on knowledge acquisition of first-time-right production with the combination of both these production technologies.

Productivity vs variation

From the perspective of industrialisation AM Integrated Factory will offer a solution for the discrepancy between industrialisation, which on the one hand needs productivity and predictability and, on the other hand, variation, which is known to be the ‘enemy’ of productivity. This means we have to work on flexibility, transparency, digitalisation, feedback loops, operator support and automation. This is how we intend to create a continuous and consistent quality.

Research and demonstration platform

In order to reach the above know-how we need research and demonstration platforms and the creation of opportunities for cooperation between technology providers, other research domains and, especially, potential end users.

The 'AM Integrated Factory' is such a first platform. It will be officially presented on 14 November in the Sirris machine hall in Diepenbeek and focuses in the first place on first-time-right production. Thanks to this pilot line companies will be able to rely on immediate access to this knowledge which is developed on this infrastructure.

Keen to find out what the possibilities are? Come to the festive start-up!

Sirris developed its own AM integrated factory in the context of the new EFRO project ‘Integration of 3D metal printing’. Read more about this project here.