Jul 11, 2014

European Space Agency wants to dominate 3d printing in space with AMAZE project

AMAZE is 20 million euro project financed by European Union FP7 program and coordinated by European Space Agency that wants to vastly improve European 3d printing and advanced metallurgy technology.
NASA is sending 3d printer in space soon, so the Europeans will need to catch up and bridge the tehcnology gap in orbit.

In this video David Jarvis form ESA explains challenges and opportunities with 3d printing with metal in microgravity  environment.

The overarching goal of AMAZE is to rapidly produce large defect-free additively-manufactured (AM) metallic components up to 2 metres in size, ideally with close to zero waste, for use in the following high-tech sectors namely: aeronautics, space, nuclear fusion, automotive and tooling.
Four pilot-scale industrial AM factories will be established and enhanced, thereby giving European manufacturers and end-users a world-dominant position with respect to AM production of high-value metallic parts, by 2016. A further aim is to achieve 50% cost reduction for finished parts, compared to traditional processing.
The project will design, demonstrate and deliver a modular streamlined work-flow at factory level, offering maximum processing flexibility during AM, as well as a major reduction in non-added-value delays compared with conventional factories.
AMAZE will dramatically increase the commercial use of adaptronics, in-situ sensing, process feedback and novel post-processing in AM, so that:
  • overall quality levels are improved
  • dimensional accuracy is increased by 25%
  • build rates are increased by a factor of 10
  • industrial scrap rates are slashed to <5%

Scientifically, the critical links between alloy composition, powder/wire production, additive processing, microstructural evolution, defect formation, residual stress and the final properties of metallic AM parts will be fully examined and understood. This knowledge will be used to validate multi-level process models that can predict AM processes, part quality and performance.
In order to turn additive manufacturing into a mainstream industrial process, a sharp focus will also be drawn on pre-normative work, standardisation and certification, in collaboration with ISO, ASTM and ECSS standards bodies.

AMAZE project homepage:

To learn more about future European plans for advanced metallurgy read:

Materials Science and Engineering Expert Committee (MatSEEC)
Metallurgy Europe – A Renaissance Programme for 2012-2022 Science Position Paper

ESA Hermes spaceplane source: Wikipedia

You can see more about space exploration and 3d printing technology at: