The EU-funded InShaPe project will develop a novel PBF-LB/M process underpinned by technical innovations. Specifically, it's an AI-based beam shaping module combined with a novel multi-spectral imaging technique for process monitoring. Its potential will be demonstrated in the aerospace, energy, space, and automotive sectors.
The additive manufacturing process powder bed fusion of metals uses a laser beam (PBF-LB/M) to melt and fuse metal powder together. Its importance is growing in industries that have huge demands for lightweight or individualised designs. The EU-funded InShaPe project will develop a novel PBF-LB/M process underpinned by technical innovations. Specifically, it's an AI-based beam shaping module combined with a novel multi-spectral imaging technique for process monitoring. Its potential will be demonstrated in the aerospace, energy, space, and automotive sectors. It intends to disrupt the manufacturing industry by transforming PBF-LB/M into a green manufacturing technology that surpasses traditional techniques concerning resource efficiency and the precision of manufacturing parts. The project should boost the European PBF-LB/M manufacturing sector's global reputation as a leading supplier of highly complex parts.
The overall aim of the InShaPe project is to develop and demonstrate in four different industrial use cases (aerospace, energy, space and automotive) a novel first-time-right Powder Bed Fusion Process of Metals using Laser Beam (PBF-LB/M). The process will be underpinned by two technical innovations: (i) a first-of-a-kind AI-enhanced optical beam shaping module that enables the flexible adaptation of laser beam shapes tailored to the material/geometry of the printed parts; and (ii) a novel multispectral in-line process monitoring and control system application.
It is expected that InShaPe will disrupt the manufacturing sector by helping to turn PBF-LB/M from a niche high-potential technology into a mainstream manufacturing technology outperforming traditional methods such as die casting when it comes to the precision of manufacturing parts, treatment of novel super-materials and sustainability. At the same time the InShaPe innovation is expected to keep pace with traditional manufacturing methods when it comes to cost-per-part economics and agile and large-scale production volumes. The KPIs to be reached in the project are: 7 times higher build rate, over 50% lower cost, 60% less energy use and 30% less scrap as compared to current best-in-class PBF-LB/M. Furthermore, the project will demonstrate how AI-based solutions can be practically deployed to deliver advanced manufacturing strategies whilst complying with current ethical standards and user expectations.
InShaPe is targeting the rapidly growing global metal fusion additive manufacturing market which is estimated to be worth EUR 6.92 billion annually. In terms of the long-term impact, the successful deployment of the InShaPe technologies is expected to reinforce the European PBF-LB/M manufacturing sector's international reputation as a leading supplier of highly complex parts, and help stakeholders set new best-in-class standards for digital, green, and agile laser-based production methods.