(SAMT) Spreading new Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Materials Technologies in industries by establishing an innovative regional ecosystem
The Plastic and mould sector within the Interreg Sudoe Programme (Southwest Europe) faces a number of common problems, which hinders their ability to compete in a global market: difficulty to be involved actively and efficiently in R&D activities, troubles to incorporate innovations developed in universities and R&D institutions, problems to update technology and develop a skilled workforce.
To face these challenges, SAMT brings together a remarkable group of organizations (R&D centres, clusters, higher education and R&D, governmental & regional institutions) having extensive knowledge and expertise in Additive manufacturing technologies (3D printing) and Advanced Materials, plastic and mould technologies.
Particularly, Additive manufacturing technologies (3D printing) and Advanced Materials are the project focus in order to boost advanced production systems, nanotechnology and advanced materials in industrial sectors such as plastic processors and mould industries.
The project has been structured to respond to regional challenges and achieve project objectives: To transfer new KET (Additive Manufacturing technologies and Advanced Materials) and facilitate their implementation throughout the regions present in the project.
These new technologies will be spread over the plastic processor and mould industries, which are well established technological industries that work within a broad range of sectors including the automotive, health, creative industries, textile, etc.
Total investment for the project is approximately 994,800€, with the ERDF contributing approximately 746,000 €, through the “Interreg Sudoe Programme”.
Evidence of success
A number of activities to disseminate KET and boost technology transfer were developed as products of the project:
Technology Roadmaps - Specialized roadmaps on existing technologies (plastic and mould industries’ techniques) and future KET (AM and advanced materials) defined according to industrial needs and requirements.
A transnational collaborative SAMT web Platform will ease the involvement of SMEs in R&D activities.
Creation of training material in the form of Open Educational Resources
The main challenges and barriers faced by entities within 5 years:
- Cost and Materials Selection
- Standards Development
- Processing/Manufacturing Speed
- Relationship between the size of the products, precision and speed
- Need for highly skilled operators
Potential for learning or transfer
Taking into account that Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) are rapidly becoming important tools for small businesses and R&D centres in the increasingly diverse industries of plastic processing and mould production, this practice has valuable lessons learnt and outputs for other regions to benefit from. The project showed, there is a lack of compiled information about KETs that is readily available to these companies. For that reason specialized roadmaps on existing technologies (plastic and mould industries’ techniques) and future KET (AM and advanced materials) were defined according to industrial needs and requirements.
Also, the setting-up of a transnational collaborative SAMT web platform will ease the involvement of SMEs in R&D activities and assist collaboration among organisations throughout the value chain.
Without such support, it is incredibly difficult for companies to find reports and demonstrations regarding the rapidly-evolving trends in these technologies.
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