Direct Digital Manufacturing

With diversified branches in every important German industrial city, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is one of the world's major international research organizations. With 24,000 employees and a budget of 2 billion Euros a year, it includes 67 Fraunhofer Institutes and research units and seven defined scientific and technical groups. Set up in 1998, the Fraunhofer Additive Manufacturing Alliance at nine locations is the largest interdisciplinary European consortium for high-speed manufacturing of products made of metals, plastics, ceramics and other materials.

Collaborating closely with national and international partners, the Alliance develops rapid strategies, concepts, technologies and processes to enhance the performance and competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises. Its advanced rapid methods and tools enable it to support all major sectors of industry, including automotive and aerospace, mechanical engineering and machine tools, medicine and medical engineering.

In March 2016 I attended the third Fraunhofer Direct Digital Manufacturing Conference (DDMC) in Berlin. Delegates were welcomed by Bernhard Müller (Fig. 1a) representing the organizers, the Fraunhofer AM Alliance.

Organization

With an emphasis on metal powders and PM processing, over 150 delegates from industry and academia in 20 countries were treated at this biennial event to 6 keynote papers, 54 other live presentations and 12 posters.

On each of the two days, plenary keynotes, comprising papers of general interest, alternated with more specialized themed parallel sessions, each with three or four individual contributions. Subjects of these sessions ranged from novel materials to quality control, and from process innovations to biomedical applications. Here, in order of presentation, is the full list of keynotes. The listing is followed by a brief review of each.

This article appeared in the May/June issue of Metal Powder Report.

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