The National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM) has launched the latest round of internal funding for its AM teams to build internal research capability. This funding is intended for research on three main areas: sustainable AM, accelerating the maturity of emerging AM materials and enabling new process adoption and development. In the coming weeks, additional NCAM research topics – Directed Energy Deposition, materials development, and non-destructive testing – will be released.
NCAM’s research will look to further large-format AM capability through understanding and adopting materials and processes which enable parts made via large-format Additive Manufacturing to be recycled or reused to minimise waste. In addition to this, concepts such as better understanding powder reuse before scrappage will be investigated. Alongside this, a review will be undertaken, looking into the latest sustainable materials within the AM market.
As materials are vital to any AM process, NCAM has been working to develop its material capability in order to enable applications in space, power and energy, defence and aerospace. The organisation’s Metal Powder Bed Fusion (MPBF) team will undertake a streamlining process to further enhance material development processes and procedures. This research aims to refine the methods that are used to establish new process parameters for emerging materials. This refinement will reduce the time and risk of developing such parameters. The MPBF team will also be developing work on high-strength aluminium materials, such as A20X. Finally, the MPBF and polymer teams will look into material property control and multi-material applications/processes, hoping to establish a state-of-the-art review which will inform future strategic decision making.
This year, NCAM will further its skills investment in ceramic AM through funding research programmes across its newly acquired Xjet and Photocentric machines. The organisation’s Bind & Sinter team is currently gaining expertise on the use of the centre’s newly acquired AIM3D system, which enables the production of cost efficient AM parts through Material Extrusion (MEX)-based AM using materials for Metal Injection Moulding (MIM).
This year’s funding will be invested in understanding and gaining more experience using the latest AM equipment, with the aim to eventually de-risk the process for companies and partners looking to use this technology and accelerate the adoption of AM in the UK and globally.