ReGAT – Research Group on Additive Technology

Contact Stephan Rosenthal, M. Sc.
  Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Wirt.-Ing. Ramona Hölker-Jäger (on parental leave)

The working group “Research Group on Additive Technology” (ReGAT) deals with the combination of forming technology and additive manufacturing. The working group pursues the goal of using the flexibility and design freedom of additive manufacturing processes in an advantageous way for forming technology. Current research deals with the development of additively manufactured semi-finished products for further processing as well as the use of additive manufacturing processes for tool production or as part of the forming-production chain.

The IUL has two additive manufacturing machines for metallic materials. On the one hand, a 5-axis milling machine with integrated laser-powder-deposition capabilities combining additive manufacturing and milling-post-processing. In this way, tools for forming technology can be produced in a single clamping, which saves time, money, and material and it also offers the possibility of functional integration. Stainless steel and tool steel can be processed, or even hybrid material concepts can be produced by material mixing. As part of a research project, the milling machine was enhanced to include the option of integrated incremental sheet forming. Thus, it is possible to combine three manufacturing processes (forming, additive manufacturing, subtractive manufacturing) in one set-up and to manufacture specific components for specific applications. Current research work to be mentioned in the context of the Lasertec 65 3D investigates new types of tool concepts for forming technology. Strategies are developed to reduce the stair step effect in tools made of laminated sheet metal (see chapter 2.4.3). This is done by means of a combination of additive manufacturing and post-processing employing surface roller burnishing. This means that even complex tools can be manufactured quickly and cost-effectively. Another basic project deals with the functionalization of additively manufactured press hardening tools by means of roller burnishing, including internal cooling channels (see chapter 2.3.7). Additively manufactured tools are reworked using forming technology in order to level the tool surfaces in a targeted manner and to influence the material properties locally (strength, heat transfer coefficients).

The second additive manufacturing machine uses Selective Laser Melting (SLM). This process enables the production of highly functional metallic components in the powder bed with filigree geometry details. Current research in this area focuses on the design of semi-finished sandwich products with optimized core structures for forming technology (see chapter 2.4.1). By a subsequent forming operation of the semi-finished products, the productivity of the process chain can be increased.

Machines for metallic powder-based additive manufacturing at the IUL