New additive manufacturing process for lightweight structures TU Braunschweig start-up project receives EXIST Transfer of Research funding
The start-up project “Generativer Fertigungsprozess in einem automatisierten Verfahren mittels künstlicher Intelligenz mit Faserverbundwerkstoffen” (Generative manufacturing process in an automated process using artificial intelligence with fibre composites) at the Institute of Mechanics and Adaptronics (IMA) at Technische Universität Braunschweig will receive funding of around 900,000 euros for 18 months from April 2023 as part of an EXIST Transfer of Research. This programme from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) supports outstanding research-based start-up projects that involve elaborate and high-risk development work. Start-up coaching and the application for the EXIST Transfer of Research is handled by the Technology Transfer Office of the Transfer and Cooperation House at TU Braunschweig.
“TU Braunschweig supports technology and knowledge-based start-up projects in many ways. The in-depth coaching for the preparation of an EXIST Transfer of Research application is one of them. Above all, the effective cooperation between the university, the mentor from the department and the start-up network sets the course for sustainable and successful start-ups in science,” says Dr. Manuela-Christina Hahn from the Technology Transfer Office.
The three-member start-up team consists of Dr Mohammad Bahar (IMA), Bernd Feldhaus (IMA and Entrepreneurship Hub) and Yaser Zyada (IMA). Professor Michael Sinapius from the Institute of Mechanics and Adaptronics supports them as a professional mentor.
Novel manufacturing of components made of fibre composites
The scientists are working on a new additive manufacturing process for lightweight structures that consists of three methods: tape placement process (AFP), additive manufacturing process (ALM) and artificial neural networks (KNN).
After the pre-impregnated fibres, the so-called “prepregs”, are placed on the tool mould, any gaps that may occur are detected and localised by a profile sensor. These gaps are then filled with continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composites using 3D printing. By combining the two processes, components made of fibre-reinforced plastics can be produced more homogeneously. They can also be produced faster and more cost-effectively, as there is no need for additional layers. Areas of application for the technology are, for example, the aerospace, medical, sports and mobility industries.
Project leader Dr Mohammad Bahar has already worked on the overall concept of the AFP/ALM method using a 6-axis robot on a particularly challenging double-curved surface as part of his doctorate. Bernd Feldhaus and Yaser Zyada have written their master’s theses on the subject.
About EXIST Transfer of Research
The BMWK funding programme EXIST Transfer of Research is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF), which is one of the European Structural and Investment Funds. In the first funding phase, research results with start-up potential are to be further developed. The aim is to clarify issues related to the implementation of scientific results in technical products and processes. Subsequently, the business idea based on this is developed into a business plan and the planned founding of the company is prepared. In the second funding phase, the focus is on further development work, commencing business activities and preparing for external company financing.
The submission of project outlines for EXIST Transfer of Research is possible from 1 January to 31 January and from 1 July to 31 July of a calendar year. In addition to the application, a presentation to a jury of experts is part of the two-stage selection process.