One of the main barriers that companies face when adopting additive manufacturing in their activity is lack of training or knowledge of materials. To address this situation, different types of training and projects are emerging with the aim of democratizing the use of 3D printing and facilitating its integration as a complementary production technology. One of these projects is the European INEX-ADAM, which arose with the goal of facilitating access to knowledge of additive manufacturing run by the University of Zagreb in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (UNIZAG FSB). Several institutions from different European countries have participated in it, among them, the technological center AIDIMME. We talked to Olga Jordá, R&D engineer at AIDIMME, to learn more about this interesting initiative that promotes the adoption of 3D printing in Europe.
3DN: Can you briefly introduce yourself and explain what the INEX-ADAM project is?
I am Olga Jordá, Industrial Engineer by the Polytechnic University of Valencia since 2001. I have been an R&D Engineer in the field of New Manufacturing Processes at AIDIMME since 2002, I am a specialist in additive manufacturing technologies, mainly in the development of new industrial applications, the development of training plans for knowledge transfer, and in the validation of additive manufacturing processes.
The INEX-ADAM project (INcreasing EXcellence on ADvanced Additive Manufacturing) is a European Twinning call project that started in 2018 and just ended in February 2022. The main objective is to facilitate and equip the Center for Additive Technologies, CATeh at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Zagreb, Croatia, to become an industry reference center by increasing excellence and innovative capacity for research in the field of additive manufacturing.
3DN: Which European organizations are involved and what has each been responsible for?
The consortium has been formed with the objective of creating a Network of Advanced Manufacturing Expert Centers. To this end, the partners have contributed their knowledge in additive manufacturing (AM) technologies and applications to increase the competences at UNIZAG FSB. In addition to AIDIMME, several European universities are involved in the project. Lund University in Sweden has focused on design for additive manufacturing (DfAM), selection of materials and technologies according to each type of application. The Austrian University of Mining, Metallurgy and Materials has focused on the development and processing of thermoplastic materials for FFF additive technology, as well as the characterization of materials and how to link material properties with the process. Brunel University London in England has focused its training on the state of the art of additive manufacturing, knowledge of current regulations, material modeling techniques, the innovation cooperation process and business models.
It should be noted that before starting the training period, visits were made to all partners in order to know their competences and skills, as well as the facilities of each of them, so it was easier to distribute the different topics for the training of UNIZAG FSB staff participating in the project. In addition, after the training period, all project partners participated in several workshops and summer schools specific to the design process adapted to additive manufacturing and the use of additive manufacturing in the industrial and healthcare sectors. Given the current situation, most of the workshops and conferences have been held virtually.
3DN: Specifically, what is the role of AIDIMME within this project?
AIDIMME’s participation in the INEX-ADAM project has focused on sharing its knowledge in different topics, through theoretical and practical sessions. More specifically, we have promoted knowledge on the use of metallic materials as raw material, powder bed fusion technologies, both in metal and polymer, the complete workflow of additive manufacturing, the validation of parts and the entire manufacturing process, and much more. In addition to the training, AIDIMME has participated in all the conferences, workshops and summer schools showing its knowledge in the above topics.
3DN: What is the ADAM platform and how important is it for users? What other broadcast formats do you work with?
The idea of the advanced additive manufacturing platform (ADAM platform) is to become a meeting point for intensive cooperation. The project partners will support the platform members in advanced AF applications or in the preparation of training materials. ADAM will offer opportunities for knowledge transfer, R&D, promotion, networking, industrial application and innovation for industry professionals. Experts from partner institutions are highly trained and well equipped with a wide range of AF equipment that can help to successfully solve any challenge. It is possible to apply for registration on the platform by following this link or by contacting the person in charge of platform maintenance.
In addition to the ADAM platform, the entire project consortium has participated in the elaboration of the book “A Guide to Additive Manufacturing” which is in the process of publication. In the coming months it will be available in Springer Nature in the Springer Tracts in Additive Manufacturing series and will be freely accessible to all those interested in Additive Manufacturing.
3DN: Why is it important that projects like INEX-ADAM continue to be implemented in the European framework?
Cooperation between different partners across Europe is a strength and a great enrichment for all, not only individually but also as a whole. In these difficult times, the union and collaboration between entities across Europe, the establishment of common lines of research and knowledge transfer, are the key to strengthening the European industry.
3DN: Any last words for our readers?
This type of European projects where there is collaboration and cooperation between entities throughout Europe are of great importance since knowledge and opinions are shared and the state of evolution of a given technology in the different countries is known first hand. Three years of collaboration in the project generates an atmosphere of trust and collaboration that enriches all project participants. In addition, this project focused on knowledge transfer has revealed the importance and the need for formal training in this area in general in all project partner countries that can be extended to Europe. You can find more information about the project HERE.
*All Photo Credits: AIDIMME / INEX-ADAM