Project: Ultrasound Additive Manufacturing based on Ultrasound Polymer Melting: Process Research and Technology Development

The UAMSONIC project will develop a new Additive Manufacturing technology able to produce parts layer by layer, through a continuous deposition of thermoplastic material._x000D__x000D_Named Ultrasonic Deposition Modelling (UDM), the novelty of the solution, relies on the use of ultrasounds as a clean, high efficient source of energy for polymer melting._x000D__x000D_UDM has born to be a real industrial processing technique for short-series manufacturing and custom-made parts. With this development, the position of Europe in the Additive Manufacturing (AM) machine manufacturing, currently far behind countries like USA, Japan or even China, will be improved considerably. The adoption of UDM into the factory is ensured by its technological, economical and environmental advantages, as follows:_x000D_- Improved manufactured parts thanks to the ability of using any available polymeric material including those with additives and engineered grades._x000D_- The ability of using standard raw material largely available in the market, such as pellets. Nowadays, materials are tied to machinery brand, which creates a quasi-monopoly situation, reason why material prices are not competitive. UDM technology will induce a cheaper access to direct manufacturing of parts due to the freedom of choice of different materials. _x000D_- Lower-degradating and faster polymer processing: The melting of plastic with ultrasound is almost instantaneous. This enhances the control of the flow of heat towards the material, limits over-exposition effects and speeds production rates. _x000D_- Improved mechanical properties of the plastic parts: The improved adhesion amongst layers allows the possibility of building stronger parts without other Additive Manufacturing anisotropic tensile strength reduction in the direction perpendicular to the layers deposition._x000D_- Highly energy efficient manufacturing that will result in a cheaper process due to energy saving of the ultrasounds melting process when compared to traditional electrical heating elements. _x000D_UDM is then going to overcome current Additive Manufacturing drawbacks regarding material restrictions, parts quality and elevated costs, finally allowing a wide-scale spread of direct manufacturing processes within conventional industrial factories._x000D__x000D_Along the three years of the project, UAMSONIC key deliverables will be: (1) an Ultrasonic Head Unit delivering a continuous melted flow; (2) a theoretical model describing the Ultrasonic-induced melting process by relating the process variables to the raw material thermo-mechanical properties; (3) a control software based on the theoretical modelling that will allow the layer-by-layer controlled deposition of the melted polymer onto the parts building platform; (4) a pre-commercial prototype UDM machine and (5) the mechanical and degradation tests of manufactured demo parts in at least 5 different commercial polymeric materials compared to injection moulded parts._x000D__x000D_At the end of the project, the UDM technology time-to-market is estimated in 1 year, during which the manufacturing units will be industrialised and turned into commercial products before launching UAMSONIC UDM machines in the market of Additive Manufacturing technologies. This includes optimising the UDM machine to guarantee a suitable lifespan of the equipment under intensive production conditions; machine integration and compactation improvements; embedded commercial user-oriented control software development; CE marking certification, user manuals and packaging development._x000D__x000D_The UAMSONIC project consortium is constituted by two R&D performing SMEs with complementary capabilities for developing the UDM manufacturing equipment:_x000D_• ULTRASION S.L. (ULTRASION): a Spanish SME dedicated to design, manufacture and commercialize industrial solutions based on high power ultrasounds._x000D_• BCT Steuerungs- und DV-Systeme GmbH (BCT): company specialized in offering solutions in automation for high-throughput, single-batch/small-series additive/subtractive rapid-processing of individually shaped parts._x000D__x000D_Joining forces to develop this very innovative project will enable the SMEs to improve their competitiveness in their markets. ULTRASION will enter into the global market of Additive Manufacturing OEM by the direct production and commercialization of high added value equipment: UDM stand-alone machines. BCT will become the automation supplier for the emerging market of UDM equipment._x000D_

Acronym UAMSONIC (Reference Number: 7041)
Duration 01/07/2012 - 30/09/2015
Project Topic UAMSONIC aims at developing a new Additive Manufacturing technology, Ultrasound Deposition Modelling (UDM) in which polymer melting is achieved using ultrasound waves as the only energy source.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 7

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 ULTRASION, S.L. Coordinator Spain
2 BCT Steuerungs- und DV-Systeme GmbH Partner Germany