Hybrid machine to 3D print large-scale metal parts in new milestone


The Large Additive Subtractive Integrated Modular Machine (LASIMM) has announced a major milestone in its development.

One of the world’s largest hybrid manufacturing machines, which features metal additive and subtractive capabilities, is now ready to build, and will be capable of 3D printing large pieces of metal, large parts and structures for construction.

The machine is the first of its kind and brings together a coalition of leading organisations that have kept Europe’s advanced manufacturing industry at the forefront of the global market.

Reducing costs, improving efficiency and production flexibility are core pillars to improve Europe’s industrial competitiveness. As part of a major initiative to address this, the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme has funded ten partners, including Autodesk, universities, research institutions and other technology providers, to produce a machine that can manufacture components for the most demanding industries, all directly from CAD models.

The machine will now be tested to manufacture demonstrator parts. These have been designed by leading industrial end-users to take the machine’s capabilities to the limit. It features capabilities for additive manufacturing, machining, cold-work, metrology and inspection. These technologies provide the optimum solution for the hybrid manufacturing of large engineering parts and deliver a 20% reduction in time and cost expenditure, as well as a 15% increase in productivity for high-volume additive manufacturing production.

The machine includes a modular configuration of industrial robot arms and a specialised milling robot – the first for additive manufacturing of aluminium and steel, and the second 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 many more.

Commenting on the development, Johnny van der Zwaag, project manager research and innovation projects at Autodesk said: “For Europe’s future industrial competitiveness, the LASIMM project represents a great leap forward for hybrid manufacturing and will enable many countries to produce far larger materials, both more quickly and cost effectively.

“The project has brought hybrid manufacturing to a truly global and industrial scale. To date, 3D printing has been limited to smaller components and is often seen as an expensive option. But the technology, both software and hardware that has been implemented within this project, shows that it is now ready for bigger things. We’re delighted to be part of it and to have the opportunity to show the world what’s possible.”

As the project’s lead software partner, Autodesk is pushing manufacturing boundaries from a single-machine-single-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 and the LASIMM project coordinator said: “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.”

Autodesk www.autodesk.co.uk



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