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Posted by Daniëlla van Laarhoven on 25-09-2017 1:49 PM

AMSYSTEMS Center, a top technology center for industrial 3D printing: impressive first results

Categories: Brainport region

Production processes are changing rapidly. The future lies in customized products, made on-demand at a de-centralized location. In this, additive manufacturing (AM) plays a crucial role. That is why Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and TNO, a Dutch non-profit organisation for applied scientific research, joined forces in AMSYSTEMS Center. Their ambition is to become the leading European innovation center for the development of system concepts and advanced equipment for industrial applications. The first results of their bundled expertise already are impressive: collaboration with industrial partners worldwide, extra jobs in the region, a Fieldlab and an additional chair at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).

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© Bart van Overbeeke Fotografie

In 2016 Katja Pahnke, managing director of TU/e High Tech Systems Center and Erwin Meinders, TNO department manager Equipment for Additive Manufacturing decided to use each other’s strengths and to establish the AMSYSTEMS Center. Together they are responsible as board members for the AMSYSTEMS Center.

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© Ruud Strobbe

Bundle expertise and join forces

“At Eindhoven University of Technology and TNO we speak each other’s language. Our strengths are complementary,” Erwin explains. “TU/e performs multi-disciplinary research that is approached by various departments in an in-depth, fundamental way. This multi-disciplinary approach is something TNO does by nature, but we look at research from a market perspective. We facilitate technology innovation and implementation for and with the industry.”

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© Bart van Overbeeke Fotografie

Five applications fields for 3D printing

“The focus of AMSYSTEMS Center is on the development of system concepts and production equipment for the 3D manufacturing of smart products that consist of multi-materials such as electronics, high tech parts and strongly personalised products such as teeth, footwear, printed food and pharmaceutical products,” says Erwin. “At the moment 5 PhD’s and 60 researchers work on research for AMSYSTEMS,” Katja says. “We aim at five different markets or application fields with four to five propositions.”

Food is an extremely important market

“Food is a very important market”, Katja continues. “Additive manufacturing in the food market is all about effective use of resources, but is also about experimenting with new textures in order to present a well-balanced nutritious meal for the elderly for instance. With textures that are easy for them to process. You can even add medicine to the food or print medicine that are completely customized for individual patients.”

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© Bart van Overbeeke Fotografie

Expertise food printing is unique in the world

“Our knowledge and expertise in the field of food printing is quite unique in the world. It is a combination of knowledge of ingredients and knowledge of systems. For Barrilla, the Italian pasta company, we developed a pasta printer, able to reproducibly 3D print pasta shapes at an affordable time to allow the manufacturing of complete meals. A lot of additional interest comes from companies around the globe, including the United States, Israel and Japan.”

Printing customized parts effects production chain

“Furthermore, additive manufacturing of polymer parts is an important subject of AMSYSTEMS Center as well”, Erwin explains. “Printing customized spare parts for cars for instance. By printing on demand you simplify the production chain. Less logistics, less stocks and as little waste as possible. For this type of printing we have a proof-of-concept machine that uses highspeed selective laser sintering. Another application that is addressed with this highspeed carrousel printer is customized footwear. Shoe soles that offer support where the person that wears the sole needs support.”

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© Bart van Overbeeke Fotografie

Technology platforms with a central position for partners in industry

“At the moment we have three technology platforms for multi-material additive manufacturing,” Erwin says; “we develop these platforms with industrial and academic partners for multiple applications, such as 3D food, 3D pharma, 3D electronics and spare parts. At the moment the printing process is often too slow, too costly and does not deliver the required quality. We work closely together with industry to address challenges like quality control and productivity to develop technology solutions that are of value for industrial implementation.”

BigRep and the Fieldlab Multi-M3D

In the field of polymer AM we strategically work together with the German company BigRep. BigRep offers 3D printers for a range of applications: from industrial rapid prototyping to ready-to-go design products. Their vision is to print functional polymer parts with fully automated production systems, such as the continuous carrousel printer PrintValley. For developing and testing new AM concepts and technology in an industrial setting, we have established the Smart Industry Fieldlab Multi-M3D, a test facility for industrial additive manufacturing applications. Other industrial partners we work with are companies like Philips, ASML, OCE, Bosch, Schultheiss, Fokker, Henkel and Oceanz.

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© Bart van Overbeeke Fotografie

AMSYSTEMS has a global focus

“AMSYSTEMS has a global focus,” Katja says. “We work with companies around the world, as well as with companies headquartered in Brainport Eindhoven region or the Netherlands like ASML, OCE, NextDent, Admatec, Domicro and Philips.”

Strengthening the region with a global focus

“The expertise of our center strengthens the region,” Katja says. “Our center has very good connections with local industry and equipment manufacturers in the region. The region will benefit in particular from our expertise in the field of 3D electronics, food printing and 3D pharma. At the moment our center has already established extra jobs in the field of additive manufacturing. Several experts already work on AMSYSTEMS Center projects and we will include the instigation of a ‘systems mechatronics for advanced manufacturing’ chair at Eindhoven University of Technology for training the experts and scientist for the future. Moreover, we have established partnerships with a considerable number of companies. Quite some successes in a very short time.”

Together with industry Katja and Erwin work on developing future technology that is going to change tomorrow’s production processes drastically. Do you want to work on 3D-printing or other ground-breaking technologies? Then take a look at current vacancies at TNO or other companies in the Brainport Eindhoven region, upload your profile and get matched.

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