The Large Additive Subtractive Integrated Modular Machine (LASIMM), a hybrid manufacturing project of 10 partners across the EU, has reached a new milestone in technology readiness. In development since 2016, the €5 million project is nearing its completion, and is now capable of 3D printing and milling large scale metal parts for end use.
Eurico Assunção, Deputy Director at LASIMM Project coordinator the European Federation for Welding, Joining and Cutting (EWF) commented, “While 3D printing for consumers and makers has received a great deal of publicity, it is within the industrial manufacturing and construction industries that this technology could have its most significant and lasting impact,”
“Its use has now reached a tipping point and this technological achievement will pave the way to enable entire construction infrastructures to be 3D printed in the future.”
LASIMM manufacturing objectives
The LASIMM Project is funded by the European Horizon 2020 fund, which supports the research and development of technologies that will give the continent the edge in Industry 4.0’s new wave of manufacturing.
The objectives identified for LASIMM development specifically include a 20% reduction in time and cost of current additive and subtractive processes; a 15% increase in productivity for high-volume additive manufacturing; more machine flexibility; and a contribution to the standardization and certification of other hybrid processes.
In addition, the machine should offer all the advantages common to additive manufacturing processes: minimizing floor space, enabling a digitized inventory, and facilitating localized manufacturing, reducing supply chain length.
Record breaking metal additive manufacturing
The metal fabricating technology inside the LASIMM is Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) which has become popular with maritime advanced manufacturing initiatives. By the end of the project, which should be closing sometime in 2019, the machine should be at TRL 6 (System Adequacy Validated in Simulated Environment) and capable of 3D printing parts 10m in length and hundreds of kilograms in weight. If so, the machine will break Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Guinness World Record for the largest 3D printed parts in the world. At this stage, the LASIMM should also be capable of working with aluminum and steel feedstocks. Its processability of titanium is expected to follow after. The system will be supported by software that enables 3D printing directly from CAD files, and seamlessly integrates multi process CAM.
After process verification and acceptance, the LASIMM consortium expect there to be a 6 to 12 month industrialization period, after which point the machine will be ready for commercial distribution.
According to the most recent update, the LASIMM “is now ready to build, and will be capable of 3D printing large pieces of metal and large parts and structures for construction.” It will now be tested with the production of a series of demonstrator parts.
The LASIMM European consortium
In addition to the EWF, five industry leading companies, two universities and two research institutes are collaborating on the development and production of the LASIMM:
– UK based aerospace and defense company BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd.
– British architectural design and engineering firm Foster + Partners Limited
– Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems A/S
– UK robot and automation provider Global Robots Ltd.
– Loxin2002, S.L. an industrial and automated equipment provider from Spain
– The Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung GmbH (the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Centre for Materials and Coastal Research), Germany
– Portuguese public school of engineering and technology, Instituto Superior Técnico
– And UK WAAM pioneer Cranfield University
Concluding the project’s most recent announcement, Assunção says, “At EWF, we are hard at work to ensure these advanced equipments are handled by adequately trained and qualified professionals. We are thrilled to be part of this unique project.”
Is the LASIMM consortium your Research Team of the Year? Nominate them and others now for the 2019 3D Printing Industry Awards.
Featured image shows illustrative demo of the LASIMM. Image via LASIMM.eu