We have conducted industrial focused research on additive manufacturing, commonly termed 3D-printing, together with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) since 1988. During this time, we have for example developed technology that allows for easier combining of additive manufacturing in metal with traditional subtractive manufacturing in what we call hybrid manufacturing. This technology can and have been used for tools and parts by the production industry in Norway.
Additive manufacturing (AM) technology gives us the possibility to build complex shapes with internal geometry such as cooling, ventilation channels, topology optimized geometries or lattice structures. This is the technology we wish to bring to our research partners to give them the newest and most efficient available technology to improve their competitive edge.
Experts since the last century
- Leading the Norwegian research in metal AM since 1993
- Expertize in design for metal AM
- Pioneer in hybrid manufacturing
- Strong international network
- Promoting the development of international AM standards
- Applied AM research in partnership with the Norwegian industry
The AM activities originated in the pioneering initiatives to bring the first models of early 'Rapid Prototyping' machines to Norway by SINTEF in the late 1980s. Since then there have been a group with continuous activity in the field of AM, even if the focus area of the research has shifted over the years.
The early activity was directed towards investigating and improving the technology for prototype development. This was followed by a period of intense research in process development, until present days' dedicated work on practical application and industrialization of AM technology.
With an experience of more than 45 person-years in the field, the present AM research group is the most merited in Norway and is well recognized as a key resource in Europe. On-going and recently concluded research projects and collaborations include several EU and nationally funded projects, activity within the European additive manufacturing technology platform (AM-Platform) and taking a leading role in the development of international standards for additive manufacturing technology.
What is additive manufacturing?
Additive manufacturing is the use of additive processes in 'regular' industrial manufacturing, not just for prototypes or models. There are some applications for which additive manufacturing offers special advantages and possibilities compared to traditional production methods such as subtractive manufacturing (e.g. machining) or forming methods (e.g. casting).
- Stiff and strong lightweight components, e.g. built with internal lattice structures or designed using topology optimization.
- Components with tailored geometry in order to fit into tight spaces.
- Spare parts built locally on demand.
- Moulds for moulding/casting of plastics and metals, e.g. with special features such as conformal cooling channels.
- Components for dental, medicine and health applications, where each manufactured part is different.
Additive manufacturing also opens for process-induced microstructures in the material. Furthermore, the process can combine materials and make gradients in material composition or material properties in a product.