Press release: IAMA 2016 - Concept Laser wins the race

16 innovations from all over the world demonstrate the high relevance of 3D printing

Düsseldorf/Frankfurt am Main (Germany), February 24, 2016. – To thunderous applause, the winner of the International Additive Manufacturing Award (IAMA) was chosen today during the “Inside 3D Printing” specialist congress at the METAV 2016 in Düsseldorf. Concept Laser from Lichtenfels in Upper Franconia came out on top against 15 other entries from Germany, Finland, the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the USA. “The IAMA is welcome recognition for our hard work, but also evidence that we’re on the right track. So the international 3D award makes us extremely proud, and provides ample motivation to continue enthusing the global market with new innovations,” says a gratified Frank Herzog, Managing Partner and founder of Concept Laser.

Winner’s innovation monitors quality during actual production
3D printing has huge potential: almost daily, new processes and products appear on the market. Whether it’s an artificial hip joint or a turbine blade – almost everything can be additively manufactured. In all of this, however, the quality and sturdiness of the components concerned play an important role. Defects may have dramatic consequences. So manufacturers have to conduct regular quality testing. Destructive test procedures, however, are uneconomical, susceptible to error and prolong the process’s running. New approaches are required, and companies like Concept Laser offer them: the winner of the IAMA has created a process that combines efficiency and brilliance in a single concept.

The innovation involves the first in-situ real-time process monitoring system in powder-bed-based additive manufacturing. It measures properties like size and intensity of the melting bath’s thermal radiation in ultra-high resolution, and displays the data in correlation to the position of the melting bath on the workpiece’s surface and thus to the component’s geometry. This will make it easy for the user to localise and evaluate process anomalies during production. “This enables downstream test processes to be reduced to a minimum, which helps to save both time and money,” emphasises Frank Herzog. In addition, the process offers an entirely new approach for research and development centres tasked not only with improving the process as such, but also with approving new materials and component geometries.

Additive manufacturing is well on course worldwide
“Innovations like that from Concept Laser show that the sector is doing intensive work on further industrial-scale implementation, focusing on all of the currently challenging issues. This will progress the bandwidth of applications,” says Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Executive Director of the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association) and one of the IAMA’s initiators.

Jury of experts rates the innovations’ costs, benefits and practical feasibility
The entries submitted for the IAMA were assessed by a ten-strong international jury. This included qualified experts from the industrial sector, the research and academic communities, the media and industrial associations. The entries were rated in categories like the following: degree of technological innovation, clearly discernible advantages for the industrial sector, the natural environment and society as a whole, cost-efficiency, and industrial-scale feasibility.

The IAMA aims to publicise and promote additive manufacturing on the international scene

The IAMA was created by a partnership between the American AMT (Association For Manufacturing Technology) and the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association). The aim is to proactively support this dynamically growing technology on the international scene and foster the expansion of its industrial applications. The IAMA has been launched specifically for this purpose, as an annual accolade conferred alternatively in Germany and in the USA to honour innovations in the field of 3D printing. The prize is supported by medial partners like Gardner Business Media and VDI nachrichten, plus Cecimo, the European Association of Machine Tool Industries. It was in February 2015 that the IAMA had its first winner: the American company Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies Ltd. Besides the IAMA trophy itself, the winner receives a money prize amounting to 20,000 US-dollars, plus a media package worth 80,000 US-dollars for marketing its prize-winning technology.