Additive manufacturing (AM) is an exciting modern technology that raises the attention of wide audience by its attractive nickname “3D printing”. In this webpage, the A_MADAM project wishes to present the project to the general public in a simplified way, with a firm belief that all great concepts are open to all people.
Furthermore, the project A_MADAM is funded by public sources, and the project team believes that a public access to technical results of a project is not the proper way to inform the public about the spending of public funds. In our opinion, the proper information should be concise and clear, stating why the research is needed, which are the potential benefits, and – after all – which are the potential risks.
Manufacturing is a process of transformations of raw materials, workpieces and natural objects until the final product is obtained. The final product is usually assembled from the parts of the product, and the parts are obtained using various manufacturing technologies, which may be classified as subtractive, forming and additive manufacturing technologies.
If you are not familiar with the basic concepts of subtractive and formative manufacturing technologies, we advise you to visit our webpage “Manufacturing technologies for beginners”.
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a set of manufacturing technologies that create a product by addition of raw material using various principles. The process of addition is usually performed by deposition of plane layers, which represent cross-sections of the product, from the bottom to the top of the product.
If you are not familiar with the basic concepts of additive manufacturing technologies, we advise you to visit our webpage “Additive manufacturing for beginners”.
Dynamic strength of mechanical components and structures describes their ability to withstand loads that vary with time, whether they are of temporary nature (shocks, impacts, etc.) or permanent nature (cyclic loading and unloading, engine vibrations, sea waves etc.). The dynamic strength is of critical importance for mechanical components and structures that are exposed to variable loads in exploitation, like it is the case with vehicles and airplanes.
If you are not familiar with the basic concept of dynamic loads and dynamic strength, we advise you to visit our webpage “Dynamic strength for beginners”.
Rules of design
Behind the design of any product are years and ages of engineering experience, and the experience is transformed into science that is studied in engineering courses. However, in everyday work of industrial and mechanical designers there is no time for scientific studies for each of the designed products. Therefore, the designers use design rules that tell them how to design certain properties of the products to meet the requirements of end users. The design rules represent condensed expressions of engineering knowledge and practice, which are (for professionals) comparatively easy to follow.
If you are not familiar with the basic concept of design rules, we advise you to visit our webpage “Design rules for beginners”.
If you followed patiently the previous explanation, you may now understand the following explanation of the idea of the project A_MADAM. The project consortium consist of university professors and mechanical engineers from SMEs who believe that one of the reasons for seldom use of additive manufacturing is the absence of complete set of design rules for products that should be manufactured using these technologies.
There are many requirements that a product should satisfy, and the designers expect to have the design rules that provide answers how to satisfy each of the requirements. Since the AM technologies are quite new, only some of the design rules are published, and at the moment (year 2016) all of them refer to static properties of products manufactured by these technologies. It is certain that some of the large companies do have knowledge about more rules for design of products manufactured by AM, but they consider the knowledge as proprietary and use it as their competitive advantage. Therefore, we believe that a publicly funded common effort of universities and SMEs is necessary to develop public knowledge about complete set of design rules for optimal dynamic properties of products manufactured by AM.
The consortium is aware that development of a complete set of design rules for AM technologies is a comprehensive task, so we focused to a specific subset of design rules and to a specific AM technology. The design rules that are to be developed in course of the A_MADAM project consider only the dynamic behaviour of the products: fatigue strength of metal products and impact strength of the plastic products. The AM technology that is going to be studied is selective laser sintering (SLS), because the technology enables manufacturing of both metal and plastic products. Therefore, we believe that SLS has the potential to become key technology for future manufacturing revolution.
What is important for this project is that it will present its result in the form of public digital repository (a kind of Wikipedia for design rules for AM). It means that any interested engineer may read it and use the rules. Furthermore, we will organize the workshops for industrial engineers and we will write textbooks for students. If we contribute to wider application of AM technologies, then the goal of the A_MADAM project will be achieved.
Why “Horizon 2020”?
Finally, why we proposed this research funded by EU? We believe that the additive manufacturing has the potential to shift the focus of production process from production volume to quality of individual products. In essence, the costs of manufacturing of two different versions of a product by AM are the same as the costs of manufacturing of two identical products. With AM, the production volume is not of relevance for marginal production costs (costs of production per unit of a product). Since the European industry is traditionally oriented to attractive design and high quality of products, AM may help it to regain its competitive advantage in some areas where the low costs of high-volumes production (frequently based on low cost of workforce) overcame the values of attractive and durable products. Opposite to the famous words of the American inventor Thomas Alva Edison, we believe that a part of the European way of life is to increase the importance of inspiration in comparison to perspiration.
We hope that the webpage explained in simple words what is the project A_MADAM, and why it funded by European Commission. If you understand now the meaning of the project name “Advanced design rules for optimal dynamic properties of additive manufacturing products”, then we succeeded in our effort. If we raised your interest in AM technologies, then we would like to encourage you to join to our efforts, because the project is open for new partners, no matter if they come from companies or as individuals. We have room to include efforts of companies, researchers, designers, technicians and students, so do not hesitate to contact us if you have wish to cooperate with our project.