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3D printing as a competitive edge

Additive Manufacturing (AM) - towards the digital revolution

Additive Manufacturing (AM), or 3D Printing is part of the digital revolution. It is changing the structure of the manufacturing industry and the way it is operating, especially in countries where the competitiveness rests on high-end products and short series. VTT concentrates its AM research especially on metal printing, with the goal of increasing the competitiveness of its customers.

Materials development

VTT has a long history and good facilities to tailor properties of printable metal powders and make experimental batches fitting the purpose in question. Powders are developed for higher performance and functionality, with manufacturing parameters optimized so that the component to be printed is flawless.

​Optimisation of products and the printing process

AM gives to the designer a much bigger degree of freedom than the conventional fabrication methods, while on the other hand AM has restrictions that must be known and understood. VTT has a strong competence in topology optimisation and in exploitation of the potential of AM. We combine this with a carefully planned print process to minimize cost while optimizing product quality.

Business models and integration of AM into production

Additive manufacturing forces companies to rethink their business models. VTT helps its customers to answer e.g. the following questions: Does AM bring economic value for me? Which parts are worth printing now and which ones possibly in the future? Can I ​increase the competitiveness of my products or develop new ones with the help of AM? How do I integrate AM into my production process? How do I manage the control and quality assurance of the materials, the process and the parts to be printed?

Our mission is to boost the competitiveness of our customers. Below some recent industrial references and ongoing projects

Customer references 

Research projects 

  • AdditiveManufacturABLE (Amable) 2017-2021
  • Industrialization of Hybrid and Additive Manufacturing – Implementation to Finnish industry (Hybram) 2016-2018
  • Benefit from additive manufacturing for efficient and sustainable electrical machines (BENADEL) 2016-2018
  • Digital Spare Parts (DIVA) 2016-2017

Here you can find a list of selected recent publications by VTT in the field of additive manufacturing

 Journal and conference papers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research reports 

  • Digital Spare Parts
    Mika, S., Partanen, J., Tuomi, J., Chekurov, S., Björkstrand, R., Huotilainen, E., Kukko, K., Kretzschmar, N., Akmal, J., Jalava, K., Koivisto, S. & Vartiainen, M. (Aalto University)
    Metsä-Kortelainen, S., Puukko, P., Jussila, A., Riipinen, T., Reijonen, J., Tanner, H. & Mikkola, M. (VTT)
    Aalto University & VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Project Final Report, 2018, 65 p.

 

 

 

 

Presentations

 

Complete list of publications can be found from VTT's Research Information Portal Pure

​​VTT´s Additive Manufacturing facilities cover the whole production chain from powder to finished product

Additive manufacturing / 3D printing

​​Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

  • From powder to product: 3D metal parts directly from 3D-CAD via selective laser melting of metal powder, layer-by-layer
  • SLM Solutions SLM 125 HL
  • Build volume: 125x125x125 mm
  • Can be decreased to 50x50x50 mm for minimal powder usage for agile testing of new materials
  • Laser source: IPG-YLR 400W fiber laser at 1070 nm wavelenght
  • Atmosphere: inert gas Ar or N
  • Fully controllable process parameters
  • Variable layer thickness: 20-75 μm, 1 μm increments
  • Suitable for most metal alloys & material development

 

 

 

​Direct Write Thermal Spray (DWTS)

  • Additive manufacturing of multimaterial patterned structures on 3D surfaces
  • MesoScribe Mesoplasma technology
  • Minimum line width: down to 100 μm
  • Minimum line thickness: down to 10 μm
  • Spray materials: metals, alloys, ceramics
  • Substrate materials: metals, polymers, ceramics, composites
  • Integrated sensing, communications and other electrical structures can be embedded on 3D components
  • Simplified workflow: no masking, no curing, no post-heating
  • Low thermal input processing

 

 

​Direct Write Paste (DWP)

  • Direct write printing technique for paste-like materials: 3D structures on 3D surfaces
  • nScrypt 3Dn-300
  • CAD/CAM compatible
  • Build volume: 300x300x100 mm
  • Minimum line width: 20 μm
  • Minimum line thickness: 5 μm
  • Paste materials: conductive metals, semiconductor and dielectric polymers, ceramics, piezoelectric, ferrites useful to magnetic elements, gels containing living cells, bio-based materials, food and many others. Compatible also with FDM printer filaments.
  • Substrate material could be almost anything, including metals, plastics, glass, ceramics, paper and even fabrics.
  • Typical applications include electronic devices (e.g. antennas, wiring, sensors), solar cells, medical applications, additive manufacturing of bio-based and food materials.

 

 

 

Through partners, VTT has entry to larger metal 3D printers and to most of the different 3D printing technology categories as identified in standard ISO/ASTM 52900:2015.

 

Related facilities

Powder manufacturing

For developing new materials for additive manufacturing VTT has in-house capabilities to produce powders with tailored alloy compositions and physical properties, optimized for the SLM process.

  • Gas atomization
  • Plasma spheroidization
  • Jet milling & air classification
  • Powder characterization: PSD, Morphology, Composition, Flowability, Packing density
  • More information: Powder Piloting

Post processing

After the printing process the parts can be heat treated to achieve specific microstructures, relieve residual stress or eliminate any residual porosity with HIP. Blasting, machining and polishing can be applied for surface finishing.

  • High temperature vacuum furnace
  • Rotary furnace with reactive atmosphere
  • Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP)
  • Surface finishing
  • More information: Powder Piloting

Material testing & part performance

VTT has wide variety of testing equipment and expertise for characterization of material properties and part performance in various service conditions and environments.

CUSTOMER SERVICE
Emailinfo@vtt.fi
Tel.+358 20 722 7070
Opening hours Mon - Fri 9:00 - 11:00 and 12:00 - 15:00, UTC +3 time zone

​See also

Press release

Events

Open Call

  • EU funding opportunity: Supporting SMEs in the uptake of Additive Manufacturing - AMable Open Call

CONTACT US

P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland
Tel. exchange +358 20 722 111
Opening hours Mon - Fri 8:00 - 16:30,
UTC +3 time zone

CUSTOMER SERVICE

info@vtt.fi
Tel. +358 20 722 7070
Opening hours Mon - Fri 9:00 - 11:00 and 12:00 - 15:00,
UTC +3 time zone