Over the last 18 Months a pan European team of researchers and companies has been developing an integrated software solution aimed at helping designers, engineers and scientists in the development of parts by additive manufacturing. ENCOMPASS, will be featured at Europe’s main additive manufacturing exhibition FORMNEXT. The ENCOMPASS project has created a unique approach which supports design decision making in the early stages of development, but which takes into account the whole manufacturing chain. On a first instance, the software tool is aimed at the laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) process but if successful the techniques will be further developed to cover other processes.
AM quality and throughput can be accelerated in a number of ways. Increasing machine process speed, improving automation or adding sensing technology are three typical examples illustrating how this may be achieved. The ENCOMPASS project has taken a different approach focussing on developing front end, through process tools that allow designers to consider an integrated process chain holistically, from component design to laser bed fusion build, post-processing and inspection. In this way, we hope to significantly improve efficiency, quality and effectiveness by accelerating designs-through-production and getting them right-first-time. The integration, at a digital level, enables numerous synergies improving capability and efficiency. The Encompass project team believes that this approach will be a game changing technology for many industries contemplating the integration of AM into their production mix. A successful project will result in: a significant reduction in time from concept to production; an increase in the productivity of the processes involved and a reduction in production costs through greater yield. The first applications of the ENCOMPASS Integrated Design Decision Support Systems (IDDS) will develop unique know-how based on real-world problems captured by testing the system in multiple sectors including tooling, medical devices, aerospace, propulsion and metrology. In this way the system will be verified and validated to a high standard providing insights and learnings for wider adoption of both IDDS and LPBF in a multitude of additional sectors.