Additive component manufacturing

Components increasingly require smart functionalities. A promising approach is the integration of electronic actuators and sensors, that measure and control functionality and condition of the component. These electro-mechanical parts create components that are more efficient with regards to their work assignment as well as to maintenance. A precise condition monitoring enables on-spot planning and conducting of maintenance work. In Theory, smart components have been widely discussed in the context of digital transformation as part of many business models. Yet, the realization of solutions for manufacturing engineering is still a long way. Additive processes like selective laser melting (SLM) and Laser Powder Cladding (LPC) have the potential to integrate sensor and actuator technology functionally and close to the tool-center point. This is the significant advantage over current solutions. These solutions either place the electro-mechanical parts after manufacturing or only realize smart systems by combining endless individual parts.

In this project, we aim to develop solutions embedding sensors in to additive components. Additive processes will be customized by taking process and material aspects into account.

At the beginning of this project, we will specify the sensors and processes specific requirements for embedding and functionality. Further on, we will develop a concept for the necessary actuator and sensor capsule, as the temperatures during the melting process exceed 1000°C. As a next step, we will develop a procedure and adapt the metallic additive processes SLM and LPC, in a way that allows the force locking, form fitting and substance bonded integration of the electro-mechanical parts. Both processes will be combined to ensure the integration during the 3-D-printing. In the end, we will validate the established process chain through a demonstrator relevant to the market in order to create a direct gateway to a bilateral commercial re-purposing. Identified possible demonstrators are safety-critical components in the aerospace sector or highly stressed components in the energy sector (gas turbines, e.g.)