The EU and the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia are supporting the AddSteel project, whose aim is the digitalization of the steel industry. The coordinator is the Dusseldorf-based sms group and, along with the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) , other partners include Deutschen Edelstahlwerke in Krefeld and the 3D printing specialists Aconity3D in Herzogenrath near Aachen. The key component of the project is the qualification of the developed material for the metallic 3D print process Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) at the Fraunhofer ILT.

This type of metallic 3D printing enables components with improved functions to be manufactured from digital data. Companies from the aerospace, turbine engineering and medical technology industries are already working with it. For 3D printing of quenched and tempered steel, however, there is currently still no material – or not yet adequate material – available to process components reliably using additive manufacturing without the formation of cracks and defects. The project partners intend to develop the new, tailor-made types of steel by 2021.