Research project „KitkAdd” receives public funding by the BMBF

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports Paderborn University (DMRC) and the Karlsruher Institute of Technology (KIT) with 2.5 Mio. Euro including six industry partners. The overall budget, in a consortium led of Siemens AG, is approximately 4.5 Mio. Euro. The Paderborn University is represented by the Chair of Design and Drive Technology (KAt) of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Zimmer and the Direct Manufacturing Research Center (DMRC) under the responsibility of Dr.-Ing. Adam.
The project aims for the combination of additive manufacturing with established manufacturing processes in innovative process chains
and targets a substantially higher productivity of SLM process chains. In sum, a holistic perspective is pursued from the idea to the product by the development of targeted methods, concepts and an innovative in-line measurement system.

Additive manufacturing provides the manufacturing of complex structure that were previously not possible. Bionic grid structures can be integrated into gear wheels for example, reducing the weight and noise of the gear wheel. However, due to the still high production costs and the low productivity, additive manufacturing processes are currently only infrequently used in series production. In addition, the full benefit cannot be used due to a lack of design aspects and to the low productivity compared to established manufacturing processes.

The objective of the research project KitkAdd is to reduce the production costs by combining additive manufacturing with established manufacturing processes such as machining, sintering, and injection molding and to reduce the number of resulting rejects by process monitoring using ultrasonic sensors.
First, demonstrator parts of participating companies are analyzed. This includes the gear wheel, a turbine blade of a gas turbine, a hydraulic block for work machines and bipolar plates for hydrogen technology. The analysis is aimed at identifying those part sections that, for instance a lattice structure in a gear wheel, can significantly improve the product properties through additive manufacturing. An established manufacturing process produces the remaining part sections. A design method that includes the potential manufacturing accuracy and design guidelines for a suitable post processing is prepared for designing parts in the combined process chains. For the resulting combined process chains, future concepts are designed for production facilities with additive manufacturing for large-scale production. The quality control is improved by an innovative ultrasonic measuring principle assuring a reduction of residual stresses in the parts during the process. The developed ultrasonic measuring system will reduced the number of rejects in the additive manufacturing process.

The result is a design method adapted to the additive manufacturing explaining design guidelines and achievable production accuracies to the user. In this way, products can be designed in such a way as to obtain a significantly greater product benefit. For the considered parts, factory concepts will be available that, in comparison to a mere additive process chain, permit more favorable production costs.
Apart from the Siemens AG and the two research institutes, the industry companies Eisenhuth GmbH & Co. KG, GKN Sinter Metals Engineering GmbH, H&H Gesellschaft für Engineering und Prototypenbau mbH, John Deere GmbH & Co. KG and the Schübel primeparts GmbH are involved. A project-related committee including EOS GmbH and the SLM Solutions Group accompanies the project.


Picture (Paderborn University, Johannes Pauly): The consortium of the research project KitkAdd in Paderborn.