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Hannover, Germany. Additive manufacturing is opening up a whole new range of opportunities. In addition to resource efficiency, the keyword is flexibility. "Additive manufacturing is driving new design freedom through product individualization as well as printing on demand," says Rainer Gebhardt, project manager within the Additive Manufacturing committee of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). "Individual gripper systems, function-optimized casting tools or the production of performance-optimized copper induction coils are just a few examples." Additive manufacturing is becoming a climate-friendly solution due to its lower energy and material consumption, lower repair costs and, last but not least, the ability to manufacture close to the required location as well as economically. All this has led to additive manufacturing becoming successfully established as a manufacturing process in industry.

Ideal partners: Additive manufacturing and lightweight construction

Cutting down on the amount of material with a consequent weight reduction makes additive manufacturing an ideal partner for lightweight construction. "As a result of the new layout at HANNOVER MESSE, lightweight construction and additive manufacturing are now direct neighbors in Hall 23," explains Olaf Daebler, Global Director of Engineered Parts & Solutions within the HANNOVER MESSE team. "That means we are creating shorter distances for visitors. In addition to additive manufacturing and lightweight construction, Hall 23 will also feature parts and components made of innovative materials like technical ceramics, rubber and high-performance plastics," he adds.

For companies like Arburg , additive manufacturing and lightweight construction definitely belong together. "Lower weight, lower costs, higher efficiency: Lightweight construction is indispensable for numerous innovative industries," says Gerhard Böhm, Managing Director of Sales at Arburg. "At HANNOVER MESSE 2020, we’ll be presenting two cutting-edge applications for the flexible and, at the same time, economical production of fiber-reinforced components, demonstrating that we offer efficient solutions for injection molding as well as for additive manufacturing." Using an electric injection molding machine, the company will be showcasing its lightweight fiber direct compounding (FDC) process, in which materials can be flexibly combined, fiber length and fiber content individually adjusted and component properties thus directly influenced. In the field of additive manufacturing, a free-former will be on display at the fair, demonstrating the production of a fiber-reinforced gripper.

In the fields of medical technology and aviation, several successful application examples for additive manufacturing have already been achieved, with individualization and lightweight construction playing a key role. But there are benefits for mechanical engineering as well. "Tools, complex functions or highly dynamic processes are predestined for the use of additive manufacturing," reports Gebhardt. "There is great potential in automating the process chain of additive development and manufacturing, and we can already see how various processes and materials are finding their place."

Resource efficiency to be featured at symposium

On Tuesday, 21 April, the Additive Manufacturing committee within VDMA will be organizing the sixth Additive Manufacturing Symposium at HANNOVER MESSE. Taking place at the Technology Academy, the event will focus on sustainability and resource efficiency, featuring presentations and best-practice examples from the field of mechanical engineering and providing trade visitors with an overview of the options offered by additive manufacturing. The topics will include efficient design and manufacturing, design freedom, addition vs. removal, material diversity and performance enhancement through the use of additive-manufactured components.

Hall 23 at HANNOVER MESSE will feature a dedicated Additive Manufacturing area, and companies like alphacam , Arburg , Formlabs , HP and 3D Gence have already confirmed their participation. In addition, Additive Manufacturing will be the topic at the Suppliers Forum in Hall 19/20 on Thursday afternoon.