Field lab RAMLAB, together with Airproducts, Fokker Aerostructures and voestalpine researched how the 3D printing technology from the field lab can reduce lead time in the manufacture and repair of metal molds. This proof of concept, which delivered astonishing results was partly funded by the public initiative SMITZH. The project provided, among other things, proof that the molds can be made in just a quarter of the original production time.
SMITZH joins forces with various Smart Industry field labs. In these field labs, Smart manufacturing technologies are developed, tested and implemented. Fieldlab RAMLAB consists of a consortium of companies that collaboratively test, validate and certify on-demand 3D printing of metal parts. RAMLAB uses so-called Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology for this. This is a technique where welding robots 3D print metal by welding bead welds together. The welding robots are supplied by Valk Welding, a company from the Rotterdam-The Hague region.
Fokker, one of the companies in the consortium, introduced a research request in 2018 related to the manufacture and repair of metal molds. Because voestalpine supplies wires that are necessary for welding; and Airpoducts supplies gas for the welding, they saw mutual benefits in doing a joint seed project.