America Makes developed the Additive Manufacturing Technology Roadmap to identify measurable and meaningful challenges that, when met, promote inquiry, knowledge-sharing, and technical advancements across the industry.
To create this Roadmap, America Makes held in-person workshops and activities where members engaged in a series of methodologies to generate and categorize industry needs. Working in teams, they documented hundreds of needs statements and identified affinities among them that ultimately converged on a curated set of project concepts.
America Makes Governance Board Members then convened to prioritize the project concepts and plot them on an impact-difficulty matrix. The outcome resulted in the successful identification by America Makes of concepts that are most suitable for public-private partnership projects, versus those that are better suited for industry to tackle.
The resulting America Makes Additive Manufacturing Technology Roadmap is broken down into the following five technical focus areas:
The Design focus area of the Roadmap is aimed at driving technological advancements in new and novel non-proprietary design methods and tools required to enable a culture change and break the cycle of designing additive manufacturing parts like cast or machined parts.
This area includes roadmap gap closure solution ideas that avoid being constrained by fundamental limitations associated with current CAD/CAM/CAE/PLM tools and design practices that were originally developed for conventional manufacturing processes.
The technical focus and associated impact analysis metrics for this area include:
- complexity exploitation,
- 3D functionally graded materials,
- multi-material integration,
- model-based inspection, and
- product individualization and customization.
The Material focus area of the Roadmap is aimed at building the body of knowledge for benchmark additive manufacturing property characterization data and eliminating variability in “as-built” material properties.
This includes creating a paradigm shift away from controlling process parameters and “as-built” microstructures to instead controlling the underlying physics of the additive manufacturing process at the micro-scale to achieve consistent reproducible microstructures and hence, “as-designed” properties.
The required technical focus and associated impact analysis metrics for this area necessitate the development of:
- standardized feedstock materials,
- benchmark material property data,
- process-property-structure relationships,
- process window boundary definition, and
- post-processing guidelines and specifications.
The Process focus area of the Roadmap is aimed at driving technological advancements that enable faster, more accurate, and higher detail resolution additive manufacturing machines with larger build volumes and improved “as-built” part quality.
This includes targeting critical technologies and associated sub-systems where the “machine level” process performance improvements are needed, similar to machine tool flexible manufacturing systems.
The improvement focus and associated impact analysis metrics for this area include:
surface quality, and
maximum part size.
The Value Chain focus area of the Roadmap is aimed at driving technological advancements that enable step change improvements in end-to-end value chain cost and time to market for additive manufacturing produced products. This includes rapid qualification/certification methods, as well as a holistic focus on integrating technologies, across the entire product cradle-to-cradle life cycle, including material and product recyclability. This area has also been designed to help drive a priority focus on identifying advanced manufacturing enterprise (AME) opportunities for creating a single, integrated digital thread to help identify workforce skill set needs and technology enablers, such as design aides and apps to improve productivity, and highlight the need for new and novel rapid design and inspection technologies. The technical focus and associated impact analysis metrics for this area include:
- processing costs,
- feedstock material costs,
- quality control costs,
- labor productivity costs, and
- energy efficiency costs.
The Additive Manufacturing Genome focus area of the Roadmap is aimed at accelerating technological advancements that enable step change improvements in the time and cost required to design, develop, and qualify new materials for additive manufacturing. This includes the development of new and novel computational methods, such as physics-based and model-assisted material property prediction tools, the development of common benchmark data sets needed to validate the computational predictions, and new and novel ideas for material property characterization that help break the cycle of developing design allowables for “every” new additive manufacturing material-process combination. The technical focus and associated impact analysis metrics for this area are similar to the national materials genome initiative include:
- computer-aided materials development,
- modular open simulation frameworks,
- access to open transparent material property data,
- multi-scale data management and sharing, and
- efficient material property characterization methods.