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Published on 5 August 2020

​Additive Manufacturing (AM) and 3D Printing

Additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing, the new industrial revolution.

Additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing encompass a range of processes used to create parts from CAD files by gradually adding material. Additive processes bring a number of benefits that subtractive manufacturing (machining and other processes that remove material) and other common manufacturing processes do not. These include virtual total freedom in terms of design, integrated functions, customization, fast turnaround, and lower mass.

Additive manufacturing has exploded over the past decade, (Wholers Report 2019 - with growth mainly driven by polymer and composite 3D printing and, more recently, processes using metal.

Liten's know-how covers the entire 3D printing value chain

In 2014, Liten began to expand the scope of its powder metallurgy research by investing in 3D printing using metals. From the very early days of Liten's foray into metal 3D printing, the institute formed partnerships with machine manufacturers to support the emergence of a metal 3D printing industry. 

Specifically, Liten's research focuses on:

  • The development of new materials for 3D printing (charged polymers, metal-matrix composites, copper alloys, new aluminum alloys, magnetic materials, etc.).
  • Advanced characterization of the printed material to understand the relationships between the process, the material's microstructures, and mechanical performance, ultimately to improve performance.
  • Integration into application-specific processes; redesign to reduce environmental impacts (eco-design); validation testing of parts and their functions; non-destructive testing (NDT) with fellow CEA Tech institute List.

Leading the AM ecosystem

In 2019 Liten and specialized 3D printing solutions provider AddUp joined forces to create a shared platform to increase the penetration of AM into the energy market. The partners are focusing on removing the technological hurdles to achieving unrivaled performance in the production of metal parts and devices.  A dual-laser FormUp®350 metal 3D printer was acquired for the FAMERGIE project financed by the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region and ERDF.

Last, a partnership with Hewlett Packard was formed in 2018 to develop polymer components using the Multi Jet Fusion process.

Liten is also engaged in projects at the Additive Factory Hub (AFH) on the CEA Saclay campus, contributing know-how in materials that rounds out List's NDT expertise. The goal is to develop new metal additive manufacturing processes.