Above you can listen to the Chairman of Steering Committée of the project, Mr Peter Harlin, Senior Engineer, Sandvik Materials Technology, commenting on the aim and the content of the project.
Project SUMAN-Next is an extension of the soon to be concluded research profile SUMAN and is specifically conceived with the intention of utilizing the considerable strengths and competencies already enabled by the profile to develop a globally recognized research environment in the field of Additive Manufacturing (AM). The array of AM technologies is acknowledged to provide key advanced manufacturing pathways for next generations in view of the wide ranging benefits that it affords. Thus, apart from being completely in consonance with the aspirations of University West to build a vibrant knowledge environment capable of co-producing research and education in this emergent field with its industrial partners, it is also in tune with the Foundation’s mandate to strengthen the competitiveness of Swedish industries. The establishment of a strong AM profile that will support future innovations and technology developments in the field is sought to be realized by targeting perhaps the most challenging of current AM problems, namely fabrication of Ni-based superalloy structures that meet the stringent demands of the aerospace and power-generation sectors. Both the powder-bed and direct metal deposition AM routes will be investigated and the main scientific objective is to develop a fundamental understanding of the process-microstructure-property correlations to eventually enable reliable fabrication of AM parts. Accomplishment of the above will involve development of better insight into influence of process conditions on build quality, understanding the nuances of how post-treatments affect microstructure and properties, identification of suitable sensors and methodologies to eventually permit adaptive process control and development of a predictive capability to forecast build properties.
A strong collaboration network of stakeholders with complementary competencies, covering the entire value chain, has already been established to help realize the above objectives. Apart from University West, the consortium of partners includes: (a) Sandvik AB, a leading producer of AM powders; (b) Arcam AB, a world renowned manufacturer of AM equipment; (c) Quintus Technologies, a leading manufacturer of high-pressure systems for post-processing of AM structures; (d) Exova Materials Technology, experts in materials testing including NDT; (e) GKN Aerospace, one of world’s largest suppliers of aerospace components with considerable AM experience; and (f) Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery AB, a leading manufacturer of power generation systems already extensively implementing AM. This consortium is bolstered by strong collaborations already forged by University West with leading national (e.g., Chalmers, Linkoping University and Swerea) and international (Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Sheffield University, North Carolina State University, University of Manitoba etc.) to enable the problem to be comprehensively addressed.
The Research Profil+ reflected in SUMAN-Next will lead to benefits at multiple levels. At the University level, it would lead to development of a hub for its continued strategic development, enabling strategic recruitment, attracting further grants, meriting researchers and educating employable manpower in the emergent technological field of AM. At co-production level, it will further strengthen the university-industry collaborations to derive synergy from their respective complementary knowledge and experience in new manufacturing strategies through demonstrators. At educational level, bachelor, masters and doctoral students will be engaged in the emergent AM technology and new advanced education courses will be enabled. Finally, at technology level, SUMAN-Next will be an important step in making the AM technologies robust enough to enhance their industrial adoption.