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AMable Service Arena - Services for additively manufactured products

AMable provides support to SMEs and mid-caps for their individual uptake of additive manufacturing. Across all technologies from plastics through polymers to metals, AMable offers services that target challenges for newcomers, enthusiasts and experts alike. Grouped along the value chain, four stages guide your idea to delivery.

Concept Stage

The concept stage captures your product idea and supports the development of suitable implementation scenarios. Services like "visualisation" enable you to discuss features and functionalities based on what you see through augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies. The AMable business case assessment tool provides an early insight into the economic viability of the envisioned product.

Construct Stage

At the construct stage, experts give you support on simulating product properties such as fluid dynamics or load cases. Topology optimisation as a service stands at the heart of an interlinked holistic approach to ensure the achievement of all expected properties.

Print Stage

Once you have a fully assessed your 3D model, you can print it whereever you like. The print stage supports data preparation and execution of critical  prints. Data acquisition during production tracks progress and specifications.

Finish Stage

Finishing a part makes your part ready for use. If it needs milling or grinding, testing or computer tomography, your specifications at construct stage define the finish line.


Services available in the Services Arena

Service description

This service supports SME’s with different assessment and evaluation procedures. The aim is to provide the SME with insight about its expertise level in the AM industry.

Service offering

  • Extract current productionstatus remote or on sight. SME’s will provide information about their own production line and workflow by answering a questionnaire or being interviewed
  • The current status is analyzed and compared to the current industry standard. The Service provider takes the information given and rates its general effectiveness compared to other existing solutions. By doing this it rates the maturity of the SME’s production line. 
  • Define tailored solutions to improve expertise level. The Service provider advances the current production process by offering insight into current industry standards.

Service key benefits

  • In production analysis of the current status
  • Insight into the current industry standard
  • External, unbiased and unprejudiced rating by industry experts

This service offers a structured and customized approach to ensure SMEs seamlessly uptake AM.

Service offering

  • The service distils the different aspects of AM uptake into modules and guides the SME through each module for their individual uptake.
  • Each module contains a set of guides and/or check-lists etc. This is a set of practical tools to help SMEs in the uptake of AM in their organization.
  • The modularity of the service makes sure the SME can tailor the service to its individual uptake, specific industry, material, technology, organizational impact/change, business modelling etc.
  • The SME creates/uses their profile to set-up their own modules. These are interactive and cloud based guides, meaning they can be shared and accesses by several stakeholders from many platforms at any time and they will have access to the up-to-date information on the platform.
  • A wizard educates the SME and helps them tailor their implementation roadmap (set-up the modules) to their needs.
  • The service can be accessed by several stakeholders at the SME.
  • The service main format is guides and checklists but more formats can be added if needed.
  • The implementation roadmap can be tailored and changed at any time by the SME as their needs and abilities change.

Service key benefits

  • Helping the SME to a structured and qualified (by experts) uptake of AM. Increasing the confidence of leadership to a successful uptake, increasing the conversion to AM, and aiding employees at the SME in their processes and decisions to implement AM.
  • Reducing the risk of errors and mistakes. Our experienced experts will provide a set of qualified processes ensuring that the SME avoids pitfalls and common mistakes. Greatly reducing the time and cost of uptake.
  • Making the process more productive due to the efficient design of the service. Helping the SME focus their resources and attention on a narrow set of processes and decisions reducing the cost of arbitrary exploration.

The service is a key tool to accelerate the R&D to reach the market in companies, with the main aim of facilitating the access to external finance (private and/or public).

Service offering

This is a methodology commonly used for ZABALA as a key tool to foster R&D in companies. It consists of a set of activities (interviews, surveys and questionnaires, studies) with the main aim of assessing companies in innovation gathering the necessary information to do it. This methodology comes from a global diagnosis methodology developed in different projects that cover strategic factors of the company such as Innovation, Market and enhancement of technology, Cooperation and Internationalization

The Innovation module consists of a deep analysis of:

  • Importance of innovation in company strategy.
  • How the innovation process of the company is. Determine whether there is a culture of innovation.
  • People involved in the management of innovation in the company.
  • Material means that the company has to carry out the actions of innovation.
  • Company innovations. Measuring results of this.
  • Influence of ICT in the innovation process.

Service key benefits

  • Achievement of additional financial resources for the industrialization of new products/services
  • To reduce the time to market of the new products/services
  • To plan the innovation activities associated to mainstream the reach to the market

This service supports the process to decide whether AM is a valid option for manufacturing of a product or not. It comprises both technical and economic evaluation steps.

Service offering

Decision support for AM uptake: does AM make sense for manufacturing this particular product by my enterprise? This decision must be made per individual part and based on technical and economic viability. This service offers a method/model/tool which can assist in making this decision on a fact-based level. The AM decision support model service offered comprises various entry points, branches and outcomes, and is dictated by knockout criteria. Criteria include considerations on engineering design, material, process, product quality and economy (cost and time). A questionnaire is used which operates in an FMEA manner providing weight factors related to the answers in terms of probability and confidence. It is distinguished in three different levels, based on the user experience.

First level /non-expert approach:

  • Are part dimensions compatible to AM technologies today?
  • Do AM materials meet the required product quality?
  • Are constraints in the way of using AM as a manufacturing route?

If all three can be assessed OK (first order estimation), then stage two, high level approach can be offered.

Second / high- level approach:

Initial design evaluation is not enough for convincingly applying AM technology. To be confident about utilizing AM in a certain application, a high-level approach has been drafted, consisting of five criteria:

  • engineering constraints
  • material constraints
  • process constraints
  • economic constraints
  • product quality constraints

Each criterion consists of an extensive questionnaire addressing issues to be answered by different types of experts within the company (technologists, purchase officer, marketing, etc.) If one of these experts yields a knock-out, then AM is considered not feasible for that specific application.

Third level/ high accuracy metrics quantification:

This level is supposed to aid users already confident towards using AM by identifying the exact processes/machines capable of manufacturing the specific part. In addition, this level will be providing highly accurate manufacturing time and cost estimation, based on the different types of AM processes available.

Service key benefits

  • Expert-based assessment of the viability of using AM as a manufacturing technology for a specific product.
  • If ΑΜ is assessed as feasible, calculation of a confidence indicator of manufacturability (probability as well as a confidence level).
  • Support for selection of suitable AM process and machine.
  • Estimation of associated performance indicators (manufacturing time and cost).

This service will provide the knowledge to enable the creation of an AM-buildable product, while integrating incoming design data (customer scan or other input data) and creating the required instructions (file for build, post-processing, inspection instructions) to ensure the final product matches the design requirement. The design process may include a part consolidation exercise, structural optimisation, design concepts, customisation, reverse engineering or simply the redesign of a component for build-ability through AM processes.

Service offering

This service offers to provide working knowledge of how to design products for manufacture by AM in different applications (e.g. topology optimisation, tooling improvement, Part consolidation to improve lead times and Customer-led product design). Customers will be able to access design tools (hardware and software) and resources through this service, and the service will help them through their first AM design process. This will empower SMEs to do functional design, part consolidation and design based on customer input either through scan data or requirements capture.

Service key benefits

  • Cost effective designs
  • De-risking the build
  • Accessing design guidelines/tools/resources

Immersive design and connection with CAD packages will be developed to enable the user to experiment with variants, allowing quick and affordable pre-assessment of product design.

Service offering

The service focuses at providing the user with a realistic representation of the end result of the AM process through an immersive design environment. The ambition is to create a software module able to directly generate a realistic visualization of a certain part after being Additively Manufactured directly from a CAD file. The tool should be able to take into account surface texture/roughness based on the selected material, process/machine type and/or machine settings (such as layer thickness) and generate an appropriate texture to be mapped on the surface of the CAD model so that the user can have a realistic view on how the part will look right after production. The user should be able to modify selected production parameters as well as the CAD file, to understand how these affect the way the part looks.

In addition, coupling with the modelling & simulation stage would enable the visualization tool to use the distorted “as manufactured” 3D model instead of the user-provided CAD file, so that a “virtual prototype” will be available for the user to decide if his requirements are met or if any further redesign and/or optimization is required.

Service key benefits

  • Ability to realistically visualize product
  • Direct involvement of customers for feedback during the design phase
  • Ability to fully grasp part surface roughness and/or finishing, as AM surfaces usually are not smooth
  • Ability to fully comprehend distortion magnitude and effects without redesigning the part, as well as effects of a potential redesign to minimization of distortion
  • Enabling product customization

Computer based solutions of thermo-mechanical effects in AM processes will be implemented to reduce expensive and time consuming “trial and error” experimentation.

Service offering

  • Weld pool shape prediction by means of analytical high performance models (almost real time) vs. real macrographs.
  • Thermo-mechanical models for shape distortion computation (HPC required)
  • Use pre-deformed (negative) CAD geometries resulting after thermo-mechanical simulation to limit shape inaccuracies during build-up process
  • Path planning optimization to reduce processing times and heat input suitable for processes with larger weld pool geometry, e.g. WAAM or LMD.
  • Simulation of post-processing operations (i.e. cutting, machining) and final shape comparison with real manufactured components
  • Further specific modelling and simulation aspects under the umbrella of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME)

Service key benefits

  • Estimation and optimization of KPIs:
    • Build time optimization and energy saving suitable for LMD or WAAM
  • Selection of appropriate process parameters (power, feed speed) including powder pre-heating temperature
  • Secure part quality:
    • Minimization of the process induced residual stresses and shape distortions, compensation of distortion, analyse the effects of post-processes (e.g. cutting, machining etc.) by means of simulation models, analyse shape accuracy by comparing real components with simulation models and ideal CAD geometries by means of CAx tools based on 3D scanning techniques
  • First-time-right manufacturing by reducing time consuming and costly experimentation
  • Aid the process design by providing feedback from simulation results in the design phase to optimize the AM process (i.e. facilitate pre-heating or path planning optimization to reduce temperature gradients and, thus, excessive and undesirable residual stresses and/or shape distortions)
  • Integrated the related CAx tools in an easy to use platform

This service supports the deployment of data analytics solutions applied to AM. Data from different sources are processed via dedicated software, apps and tools, with the aim of extracting and visualizing manufacturing, product and business related KPIs that are useful as decision support tools for SMEs.

Service offering

  • Extraction of meaningful knowledge as KPIs from structured or non-structured information associated with AM manufacturing processes that can help on decision making such as selection of providers, machine certification/approval, selection and optimization of AM parameters, product approval, design approval or benchmarking.
  • Provide access to different types of data originated from different sources during and around AM processes: AM machine data (embedded sensors, machine communication), quality control equipment, design data, modelling data, cost data, delivery time data, multi-machine data.
  • Implementation of existing and new data pre-processing (filtering) and data analysis (clustering, dimensionality reduction, feature extraction) solutions as software, apps, tools, cloud services etc.
  • Access to data visualization wizards(summary statistics, historical data, trends, patterns etc.)
  • Implementation of analytics approaches (multivariable analysis, learning algorithms)

Service key benefits

  • Adoption of data-driven strategies tailored to the SME needs to take business, AM technology and process/product quality related decisions better and faster.
  • Tele-assistance for machine diagnostics and optimization of AM parameters.
  • Process data retrieval and storage based on KPIs allowing optimization of value chain performance and overall product quality management.

Measurement and consolidation of data throughout the AM process chain with build monitoring systems& metrology data collection.

Service offering

With this service customers can assess the quality of the final product and make sure that the component fulfils desired specifications, requirements and standards. The service also provides information and knowledge to improve the consistency of the AM process and part quality repeatability.

To offer quick and meaningful advice to customers with part quality related issues, participants will be able to fall back onto a continuously expanding repository. This repository contains known issues and solutions with regard to different machines, materials, geometries, etc. As work is carried out through experiments and competitive calls, the repository will be constantly updated with new data. Additional insights from large quantities of data can be gained through the Data Analytics service. Specific work that can be provided through this service includes:

  • Quality control consultancy – implementation of (AM) standards and best practices
  • Process development for QM purposes
  • Metrology services
  • NDT services
  • Mechanical testing
  • Failure investigation
  • Real-time build monitoring system integration

Service key benefits

  • Stability of the AM process and practices for the best operation
  • Increased understanding of the complete chain of AM and the possible factors causing the flaw
  • Links to related services within Service Arena

Integration and handling issues of robotics in additive manufacturing. Including Industry 4.0 concept development.

Service offering

  • Manufacturing systems integration / Production support.
  • Independent process and product review leading to a technology gap analysis (Digital maturity model assessment) 
  • Independent design for automated systems
  • Digital automation, big data, analytics, connectivity and cloud computing
  • Data security and robust networking systems.

Service key benefits

  • Consultancy on the use of robotics in AM
  • Integration and production support of robotic manipulators in AM (directing energy deposition)
  • Programming and file transfer protocols

Industrialization of AM encompasses the transition from building a few prototypes to full-scale series production of end-use parts. Key concepts of industrialization are establishment of a comprehensive quality management system and seamless integration into existing production lines.

Service offering

This service provides customers with expertise to bridge the gap between prototyping and production through consulting, training, and testing. The primary focus areas for industrialization of AM are enhanced productivity, process repeatability and predictability, and customer relations and support.

  • AM best practices documents and technical guidelines can be provided to customers with the aim of defining fully approved AM processes and products.
  • Trainings to implement and work according to industrial standards (ISO, ASTM, EN, etc.), best practices and guidelines are offered
  • Testing is carried out to ensure desired part quality and production speed can be achieved, specifically with regard to workflows and operational management
  • AM production chain automation and integration where Additive and Subtractive technologies are integrated in a (semi-) automated chain
  • Consultancy on ICT services which enable industrialization of AM (CAx, M2M and reconfigurable MES, data analytics and closed loop monitoring tools to be integrated in production infrastructure)
  • Industrialization pilot trials both at RTD and customer

Service key benefits

  • AM parts manufactured according to industrial standards and compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Balanced and optimized AM production flow with optimal production speed and quality
  • Integration of AM processes into existing process chains allowing seamless production flows

Guidance on quality assurance and certification of parts manufacture by metal AM

Service offering

The offering will be to provide SME’s and midcaps with goal based certification guidelines on the materials and manufacturing development processes for metal parts produced by AM.

Service key benefits

  • A route to certification of a metal AM part
  • Alignment to regulations, codes, and standards.
  • Suitability of the manufacturing process for an identified part

Guidance on post processing possibilities of parts manufacture by metal and plastic AM. The post processing services will at this stage only consider technologies around the AM manufacturing, traditional techniques as CNC; PVD and all other technologies that are standard will not be considered.

Service offering

The service will bring the AM parts closer to the specifications from the customers. Depending of the technology, guidelines will be delivered to SME accordantly with their processes and methodology.

Service key benefits

  • Mechanical Proprieties (with the help of Thermal treatment)
  • Surface smoothness
  • Cosmetic surface treatment for general aspect.