After 3D printing of plastics has fully been accepted by the industrial world, the next frontier of additive manufacturing are metal parts. The transfer of Metal Additive Manufacturing (MAM) technology will allow our SMEs to be pioneers in a field that represents a paradigm shift.

The CIM UPC provides research and technology transfer in metal 3D printing methods that include:

  • 3D printing of parts in green (mixture of powder metal and binder) that follow binder removal and high temperature consolidation processes – either from pastes (DIW), filament or pellets (FFF) or binder projection.
  • Directed Energy Deposition Technologies such as wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM), directed energy deposition laser (DED) with filament or powder, both already impacting in a relevant way in the industry.
  • Direct technologies based on powder bed fusion.
Workflow - metal

In Additive Manufacturing with metals almost everything has to be done. In recent years, it has been intuited that it can be a transforming tool in many of the challenges we face, both at an industrial and social level:

  • The creation of more sustainable materials, processes and industrial products that generate less carbon footprint. This field includes the use of sustainable materials from the revaluation of waste, as well as the repair and remanufacturing of components that reach the end of their life cycle and a new added value is opened up with this technology. These areas will open up new synergies between industries that will favor the circular economy.
  • The generation of metal-based products for the energy transition: electric mobility, catalysts, hydrogen technology, which takes advantage of the intrinsic advantages of highly complex geometries that 3D printing makes possible.
  • Reduction of emissions from transport vehicles by reducing the weight of components, thanks to the application of new computer-aided design and engineering tools (topological optimization and computational design) that facilitate ultra-light geometries that are only possible to materialize with 3D printing.
  • Incorporation of the advantages of additive manufacturing at an industrial level as one more technology to complement conventional manufacturing methods (such as machining and casting) to promote increased functionality in products, and therefore, high added value and new markets.
  • The generation of new business models based on customization and a 100% digital data flow (from design to realization) in sectors as different and relevant as health and biomedicine, aerospace, automotive, construction and many other sectoral clusters.

For all this, the CIM UPC puts into play:

  • Experience in all Additive Manufacturing technologies suitable for obtaining metallic parts, according to the ISO/ASTM 52900 standard, with knowledge of which ones to prioritize according to the type of application.
  • Extensive technological means in permanent renewal, including the generation of own equipment, in order to adapt the additive manufacturing process to the desired functional characteristics of the products. In this sense, CIM UPC has a key role as technological prescriber and builder of alliances between manufacturers, developers, research centers, users and administrations that drive technological innovation is key.
  • Extensive testing and validation facilities within the UPC itself, given that an absolutely key aspect in the metal additive manufacturing is to characterize and test the components in order to determine how the materials and the process – which involves transformations at high temperatures – make it possible to achieve products with the intended characteristics.
Kit parts metal

The activity of this line of research focuses on:

  • Based on the challenges that companies present, seek and make viable the most suitable additive manufacturing process.
  • Search and development of new materials, new metallic 3D printing processes, and new characterization and validation procedures for printed components.
  • Facilitate access to 3D metal printing technologies through an open demonstration space.

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    DWYN project


    The DWYN project (EXPERIMENTAL DEVELOPMENT OF NEW DUAL 3D PRINTING TECHNOLOGY FOR THE PRODUCTION OF STAINLESS STEEL STRUCTURAL PARTS) aims to achieve the experimental development of a new TIG-WAAM printing technology using two heads for the printing of stainless steel structural parts, which represents an objective and substantial leap forward compared to the current state of the art, by obtaining a new prototype system that guarantees an increase in productivity and a reduction in costs, with the consequent reduction of the environmental impact that characterises the current processes, in turn increasing the level of knowledge of the industry and associated agents, also achieving the development of products with greater added value.

    The consortium is formed by Acerinox Europa, Codesol, the UNIVERSITAT POLITÈCNICA DE CATALUNYA with the participation of the groups PROCOMAME (Metallic Materials Forming Processes) and ATEM (Analysis and Technology of Structures and Materials) and CIM UPC.

    Project reference

    Program and call
    “The publication/result/equipment/video/activity/contract/other is part of the project CPP2021-009042, financed by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and by the European Union “NextGenerationEU”/PRTR”.