Together with the Swiss technology group Oerlikon and the industrial gas manufacturer Linde, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has entered into a research alliance for additive manufacturing (AM). The partners aim to develop new high-strength, lightweight aluminum-based alloys that can serve the safety and weight reduction needs of the aerospace and automotive industries. The Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs is funding 50 percent of the EUR 1.7 million research project.
This research partnership was born out of the additive manufacturing collaborative announced in early October. TUM, Oerlikon, GE Additive and Linde announced the establishment of a Bavarian additive manufacturing cluster and an Additive Manufacturing Institute to promote higher levels of collaboration and cross-disciplinary research amongst the companies and the university. Having a wide variety of expertise in one geography is expected to accelerate advances in additive manufacturing.
The TUM-Oerlikon-Linde consortium is unique as each of the three members brings its own high-tech expertise to the table in this complex space. Producing the optimum aluminum alloy with a high content of lightweight elements like magnesium through an AM process requires a deep understanding of chemistry, thermo- and fluid dynamics. During the manufacturing process, the metal powder is applied one layer at a time on a build plate and melted using a laser beam. This fuses the metal powder together and forms the desired complex, three-dimensional geometries. The process takes place in a well-defined shielding gas atmosphere.
Source: “New research alliance for additive manufacturing”, Technical University of Munich