Project leader:

Digitising Manufacturing

Project: Interclusterproject 3D Printing ‘Powderbed technology for the aircraft industry’


FLAG and Digitising Manufacturing joint intercluster VIS-project (Vlaams Innovatie Samenwerkingsverband) aiming for the integration of 3D additive manufacturing technology within a production by applying ‘Design for 3D Printed Manufacturing’ and by creating a ‘Digital 3D Printing Identity’.

The goal is to defineĀ guidelines to (re)design products for an AM integrated production chain and to set up a digital product identity that can serve as basis for future certification.

Application of the result should lead to the start up of AM integrated series production chains.


Additive production transforms the way engineers design and build parts for engines, hulls or landing gear in aerospace. First prototypes already fully exploit the advantages of 3D printing. Between now and 2020, OEMs will look for suppliers for the startup with AM in series production. However, a lack of integration of 3D printing technology within the design and production chain hinders an economically feasible series production of functional metal components.
This project accelerates the start-up of series production of AM metal products in aerospace and high-end manufacturing. It builds up knowledge in 2 key themes that hamper the start-up with series production at manufacturing and technology companies from the “Flemish Aerospace Group” and “Digitizing Manufacturing” clusters:

  • a digitally supported and integrated design process so that products optimally utilize the new possibilities of 3D metal printing and are simultaneously tuned to an economically feasible production chain (including post-processing to achieve the required accuracy)
  • an integrated and digitally supported production system, in which 3D metal printing with other production technologies is integrated into a production chain and where digital follow-up allows to guarantee the process and product quality in series production. Process control, repeatability and certification that product properties meet all requirements are critical challenges for series production.



  • Facilitate the startup of powder bed additive manufacturing based series production by generating knowledge and demonstration
  • Focus on
    • Cost efficiency by means of an integrated, digital design
    • Quality insurance by means of a digital passport


Concrete goals

Based on 3 representative use cases in aerospace, the project develops, demonstrates and validates in the pilot line of an integrated AM production chain:

  • Guidelines for an integrated, digitally supported design for AM metal parts. These include both the product design and the design for economic feasibility (including post-processing).
  • Methods, guidelines and a digital passport for the monitoring of quality in production throughout the production chain.
  • Demonstrators integrate the guidelines and developments on the basis of 3 representative use cases in an industrial, representative production environment. These support the transfer of knowledge and allow companies to experiment.
  • An intense transfer of knowledge and broad dissemination to the target group allows companies to get acquainted with the possibilities: 1 learning network, 100 companies take part in dissemination activities, 20 advice, 10 companies supported with investment plan.
  • The user group actively manages the project and positively assesses the project results.