Project develops two hybrid machines addressing manufacturing and repair applications
Two hybrid manufacturing machines, which combine both additive and subtractive manufacturing, have been developed within the Horizon 2020 project ‘OpenHybrid’, which has concluded after three years.
The machines combine directed energy deposition (DED) and machining processes to address both manufacturing and repair applications. Their capabilities have been proven through the development working parts for the mining, automotive and power generation sectors.
One of the hybrid platforms is intended for the repair and manufacture of medium parts, while the other is a gantry system intended for large parts. The first combines a laser powder head feed system developed by HMT (Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies) with a concentional CNC machine tool, while the second combines a wire head feed system developed by Fraunhofer IPT and HMT with a spindle for machining. HMT also developed a standardised docking system that enables the processing heads for DED to be automatically switched out during the additive manufacturing process.
The following capabilities have also been added to the systems by the OpenHybrid project partners:
- A laser measurement head by HMT
- CAD/CAM adaptive software by BCT and Picasoft
- Process simulation tools by ESI
- Laser ultrasonic non-destructive testing inspection for defect analysis by TWI
- Enhanced gas shielding by TWI and MTC
- In-process inspection utilising thermal and optical imaging as well as advanced laser ultrasound technology, again by TWI and MTC
One key achievement of the OpenHybrid project, which was coordinated by MTC, was to ensure that integrating the hybrid system onto any machine tool platform would be as easy as possible. The ability of a machine tool to be hybridised with the system has therefore been termed ‘hybrid-ready’. The new system can be integrated easily onto machine tool platforms from project partner GF Machining Solutions, and large-scale automation platforms from Güdel, another OpenHybrid partner.
‘OpenHybrid is a game changer for the faster creation of new opportunities and applications for additive manufacturing,’ the partners remarked in their announcement of the successful development of the new systems. ‘This new solution increases the level of robustness and repeatability of such industrial processes, optimises and evaluates the increased performance of production lines in terms of productivity and cost-effectiveness and, finally, provides an effective assessment on the sustainability, functionality and performance of the produced new materials.’
To ensure that both the repair and manufacturing capabilities of the new systems will be widely accepted, the project partners worked with standardisation bodies ISO, CEN, ASTM and AWS to support the development of additive manufacturing standards.