With some twenty qualified metal alloys already to its credit, MMB Volum-e has set
to take advantage of the period of upheaval caused by the Covid-19 crisis to accelerate its fundamental research and the development of its materials catalog. In 2021, the company will strengthen its center of excellence to support its customers' innovation initiatives and offer a broader, more comprehensive range of services.
In contrast to the economic slowdown caused by the health crisis, Research & Innovation activity at MMB Volum-e accelerated sharply in 2020. The company intends to maintain its avant-garde position in additive manufacturing by contributing to the qualification and characterization of new high-tech materials and processes that have seen their technological maturity level (TRL) rise.
Efforts have focused in particular on speeding up the processing of mechanical and microstructural analysis data, thanks to its in-house laboratory and strengthened partnership with materials elaborators Aubert & Duval and process experts EOS and Analyse & Surface (6napse group). In 2020, the range of metallic materials offered in the MMB Volum-e catalog increased by 40 %, and the company is able to respond to new developments: parameterization of new materials, thermal and mechanical simulations of parts designated for selective laser melting (L-PBF-M).
At the same time, significant progress has also been made on current collaborative projects, involving several of MMB Volum-e's competencies. The subjects are diverse: some are concerned with the productive reinforcement of laser machines, others with understanding the modeling of powder behavior or residual stresses in FA processes, and finally with innovative surface treatments.
The After ALM project is led by IRT-M2P. Volum-e aims to evaluate the most advanced surface treatments for FA parts, including chemical, plasma, mechanical, laser and electrochemical treatments. The aim is to improve surface roughness, remove detachable particles from the surface and enhance the functional properties of parts.
At this stage, the 28 industrial and academic partners are in the process of launching a fatigue characterization campaign to measure the impact of these surface treatments on long-term mechanical behavior and to qualify production/finishing ranges.
In addition, the thesis in progress with the University of Rouen (Groupement Physique des Matériaux - GPM), dealing with the microstructural properties of aluminium alloys produced by FA and aiming at a better understanding of their use in machines, led to its first scientific publication* in September 2020.
MMB Volum-e, which has historically focused on plastic additive manufacturing, has updated its machinery with the latest generation Figura 4 3D printer, enabling it to use the latest innovative materials. Among these, the company intends to develop the use and characterization of the latest generation of advanced photocrosslinkable materials (stereolithography), with high mechanical and thermal performance, flexible materials and elastomers (Tough-Blk 20, Pro-Blk 10, Rubber 65A-Shore, etc.).
Strengthening of a center of excellence for external service deployment
MMB Volum-e's research and innovation efforts have contributed to the creation of a center of excellence to support customers in their development projects. Positioned as a true prime contractor across the entire value chain, the center's mission is to deliver external services, from design to finished product:
- Design: Thanks to the creativity of its designers, MMB Volum-e is able to imagine, draw and design the product that meets the initial specifications.
- Co-design and engineering: the company supports its customers at every stage of the engineering process. Its design office determines the best technical solutions to meet specific technological constraints. The team has access to additive and subtractive manufacturing methods, and is always ready to optimize design and co-design according to the chosen production methods.
- Training and Qualification: our experts also offer training in additive manufacturing, with a view to technology transfer. Lastly, VOLUM-e provides support for materials and process qualification, in particular to help customers upgrade their skills in laser additive manufacturing on metal powder beds (small and medium production runs, productivity enhancement, material parametrics, etc.).
* "Nanoscale periodic gradients generated by additive manufacturing of an AlSi10Mg alloy"in a thesis entitled "Relation microstructure - process - mechanical properties of aluminium alloys produced by additive manufacturing".
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