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The Additive Manufacturing Technology Roadmap

February 23, 2016 | Category: Materials and Processes

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.

The Additive Manufacturing Technology Roadmap

To create this Roadmap, America Makes held in-person workshops and activities during which members engaged in a series of methodologies to generate and categorize industry needs. Working in teams, they documented hundreds of needs statements and identifed commonalities among them that ultimately became a curated set of project concepts.

The America Makes Governance Board Members then convened to prioritize the project concepts and plot them on an impact-difculty matrix. The outcome resulted in the successful identifcation 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: 1) Design, 2) Material, 3) Process, 4) Value Chain, and 5) Additive Manufacturing (AM) Genome.

After attending many conferences, participating in consortia workshops and reviewing many other roadmaps, the primary industrial issues seem to focus on commercially available materials (Material) and process repeatability/predictability (Process). It is no surprise that material and process are key parts of the effort to increase adoption and insertion of AM-produced parts. One of the advantages of having a roadmap cultivated in an institute like America Makes is the ability to prioritize resources. Below are descriptions of each of the top-level roadmap categories.

Design. The Design focus area of the Roadmap is aimed at driving technological advancements in new and novel, nonproprietary design methods and tools to foster a culture of change and break the cycle of designing additive manufacturing parts like machined or cast parts.

This area includes potential solutions that are not constrained by the fundamental limitations associated with current CAD/CAM/CAE/PLM tools and design practices that were originally developed for conventional manufacturing processes.

Material. 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.

Process. 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 machine-level process performance improvements are needed, similar to machine tool flexible manufacturing systems.

Value Chain. The Value Chain focus area of the Roadmap is aimed at driving technological advancements that enable improvements in end-to-end value chain cost and time to market for additively manufactured products. This includes rapid qualification and certification methods, as well as a holistic focus on integrating technologies across the entire cradle-to-cradle product lifecycle, including material and product recyclability.

The focus area has also been designed to help drive the focus on identifying advanced manufacturing enterprise (AME)opportunities for creating a single, integrated digital thread to help determine workforce skill set needs and technology enablers, such as design aids and apps, that can improve productivity. These opportunities will also highlight the need for new and novel rapid design and inspection technologies.

AM Genome. 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; common benchmark data sets needed to validate the computational predictions; and ideas for material property characterization that help break the cycle of developing design allowables for every new additive manufacturing material-process combination.

For more information about additive technologies, contact Tim Shinbara at or 703-827-5243.