FADO project led by CT takes a step towards the industrialization of additive laser manufacturing

29.11.18

FADO project led by CT takes a step towards the industrialization of additive laser manufacturing

After three years of research, FADO project, led by CT in collaboration with Hydracorte, Airgrup, Syspro, Unimate, AIMEN Technology Centre and the University of La Coruña, comes to an end, putting additive manufacturing by laser at the service of large industries.

The innovative robotic system will allow the repair and manufacture of large components for the automotive, aeronautical, metal-mechanical or naval sectors, among others, throughout additive technology.

The efficiency and precision of the developed system have already been validated through the manufacture of an aluminum prototype component for the aeronautical sector.

The projects explores a cleaner and more ecofriendly manufacturing technology, which allows to reduce up to 30% the amount of material to be machined afterwards and therefore, the amount of waste of the whole process.

CT, the leading engineering company in technological innovation throughout the entire product lifecycle, led FADO R&D project, which has just successfully developed a robotic system of additive manufacturing by laser for large scale components. FADO project, framed in the FEDER-INNTERCONECTA Program and supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), CDTI and the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, opens a window of opportunity and improvements for the large pieces manufacturing process within a wide range of sectors.

The research process carried out over three years includes several phases, from the robotic head development, along with the initial thermal studies and the process simulation throughout finite element analysis (FEM), to the numerical control techniques for the automation of the additive manufacturing robotic cell. This one can be used even for complex geometries, while providing a constant material attribution, throughout a coil of aluminum thread. The cell has a hybrid thread-powder head, which allows using both irrespective of the geometry of the piece. The piece manufacturing is completed by a machining process to provide the needed superficial quality.

Various teams from CT, AIMEN Technology Centre and the University of La Coruña as the Research Centre, have analyzed the process features in order to parameterize it and compare the results with data from previous studies. Finally, the team was able to turn manual modelling processes into digital ones, achieving a considerable saving of time.

The process research materialized with the manufacture of an aluminum prototype for the aeronautical sector, a vivid proof of this technology applicability in the industrial manufacturing.

The major innovation is the reduction of the needed amount of material by 30%, which implies lower costs. Furthermore, it brings further benefits against the usual subtractive processes, such as the decrease in the amount of waste generated, turning it into a more sustainable technique.

"Through FADO, we have addressed this industrial process, supported by the European Union within Horizon 2020 context, in order to align technology with the needs of the manufacturing industries, requiring an ever-increasing speed. With this robotized cell, we manage to reduce the raw material needed for the manufacturing of large-scale pieces, while ensuring quality standards and improving productivity thanks to obtaining higher material deposition rates through the use of aluminium thread filler material. We have a versatile technology in our hands, which allows us to explore a wide range of materials; therefore the system will be tested with steel. " said José Antonio Vicente, Head of R&D projects at Manufacturing Sur division, CT.

 

FADO project is formed by a consortium, led by CT and comprised by the Galician companies Hydracorte, Syspro and Unimate, the Andalusian Airgrup, along with AIMEN Technology Centre and the University of La Coruña (UDC) as the Research Centre.

 

FADO project, with a budget of 1.5 million euros, is part of the 2015 FEDER INNTERCONECTA Program (ITC-20151267), subsidized by the CDTI with the support of FEDER funds and the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

 

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