Raul Fangueiro, Fibrenamics Coordinator

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Additive manufacturing promises to be one of the most relevant technological factors that will influence the development of innovative products in the near future. Effectively, the possibility of building a product layer by layer from a virtual representation of it, opens inexhaustible possibilities that only human creativity can limit. Several industrial sectors are already benefiting from the possibility of building prototypes from additive technologies capable of responding to the more specific needs of ever more demanding customers. In the automotive industry, many of the polymer components developed are already produced using 3D printing techniques, with extremely high levels of quality and flexibility. In the health sector, a large number of medical devices are produced using additive manufacturing techniques, based on polymeric, ceramic or metallic materials. Similarly, in the aerospace industry, many of the components developed for incorporation into satellites or vehicles also use these techniques as a way to ensure thorough validation of all their characteristics prior to their large-scale production.

According to Frost & Sullivan, the market for additive manufacturing is expected to grow by about 15% annually over the period 2015-2025, with growth in the automotive sector expected to be about 34% of that share. It is expected that the medical, automotive and aerospace contribute over 51% to the growth of this market since these are the industrial sectors with the greatest influence on the growth of additive manufacturing. From the point of view of innovation, significant opportunities exist for the production of components from polymeric filaments additivated with graphene by using filament fusion fabrication (FFF) techniques. In this case, features such as electrical conductivity, electromagnetic shielding, increased mechanical performance, among others, can be used successfully with polymeric filaments reinforced with graphene and other carbon-based structures.

the possibility of building a product layer by layer from a virtual representation of it, opens inexhaustible possibilities

The use of additive manufacturing will also contribute to the change of supply chains in different sectors, since the physical components will be produced anywhere in the world from digital files developed for each of the specific products. In this case, the possibilities of product customization are endless, and these can be produced locally with reduced needs of finished components. In this way, customization and changes in supply chains will briefly shape business models in various industries.

In this Fibrenamics Newsleter, we have the honor to have the vision of Prof. Martinho Oliveira, one of the largest specialists in additive manufacturing, with experience in several projects involving this technology. On the other hand, our partner D2 Technology also gives us an insight into the incorporation of additive technology in its production process, and we also share the most important ideas we have gathered in our participation in Additive International Conference in Nottingham. The SenseBED project is also highlighted in this edition, showing the results obtained in the Fibrenamics and Vital Textiles partnership. Finally, it is with great pride that we show news of the use of the individual protection equipment developed in the AUXDEFENSE project by the Portuguese soldiers in Iraq.

Fibre the Future!
Raul Fangueiro