Thursday, November 26, 2009

EU $1.8 Billion Factories of the Future Roadmap Funds Nanomaterial Manufacturing Research

The European Commission Factories of the Future Public Private Partnership (FoF PPP) addresses the development of the next generation of production technologies, including nanomaterial manufacturing, that will be applied from 2015 onwards. The overall budget contribution to the initiative amounts to $1.8 (€1.2) billion between 2010 and 2013, to be equally shared between the European Commission and the private sector.

A Strategic Multi-Annual Roadmap was prepared in March 2009 and updated in November 2009 by the industrial representatives in the Ad-Hoc Industrial Advisory Group for the Factories of the Future Public-Private Partnership (AIAG FoF PPP with the mandate to help define the research content of this initiative. The present document lays out industrial research priority areas for the implementation of the Factories of the Future Public-Private Partnership covering the period from 2010 to 2013.

The European Technology Platform on "Future Manufacturing Technologies" (‘MANUFUTURE’) has strongly supported this process, together with its working groups and sub-platforms, namely Agriculture Engineering Technologies (‘AET’), Clean Environment Technologies (‘CET’), European Concept, Foot Wear including Sports, Micro Nano Manufacturing (‘MINAM’), Rapid Manufacturing (‘RM’) and European Tooling, following a cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary approach.

The prepartion of this draft is also based on a wider stakeholders consultation, including the European Technology Platforms on Advanced Engineering Materials and Technologies (‘EuMat’), European Steel Technology Platform (‘ESTEP’), Future Textiles and Clothing (‘FTC’), Photonics21 (‘Photonics’), Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem), European Robotics Technology Platform (‘EUROP’), Networked European Software and services Initiative (NESSI), European Platform on smart systems Integration (‘EPoSS’), European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory council (‘ENIAC’) and Advanced Research and Technology for Embedded Intelligence and Systems (‘ARTEMIS’).

Traditional and new industries are working with new materials to take advantage of increased functionality, lower weight, lower environmental burden, energy efficiency as well as providing for a sustainable manufacturing base by moving to high added value products and customized production. New materials pose new challenges for cost efficient manufacturing to shape, handle and assemble complex structures that can involve macro-micro-nano scale, multiple materials combinations such as sandwich structures and composites and smart materials involving integration of sensing and actuation technology within a material (e.g.
smart textiles). In other cases, there is a need to work with and more effectively integrate bio-inspired materials with conventional and new materials to meet the needs of new bio-industries and environmental targets.

Spanning many of the above sectors and more, Europe is at the forefront of micro-nanoresearch, stimulating a new family of materials that provide the functionality to meet specific industry needs. Such materials require new manufacturing processes to convert them into products that function at the micro-nano scale particularly for volume manufacture within a safe environment. Manufacturing to combine materials with integrated macro-micro-nanofeatures are required to cover such processes as design, assembly, joining and reliability (e.g. new coatings on traditional substrates).

EU planned nanotechnology manufacturing research will cover: 

Netshape manufacturing technologies: Netshape manufacturing technologies have gained industrial significance for structural parts made of a wide range of materials, namely metals, ceramics and polymers. Transferring traditional low-cost net shape manufacturing processes to novel material classes, such as advanced metallic materials (e.g. intermetallics), functional ceramics (e.g. bioceramics) or structurally reinforced composites (e.g. metal-ceramic or polymer nanocomposite materials) will lead to completely new possibilities in the design of components and to significant savings of materials and processing costs (proposed for 2012/13).

Manufacturing chain for bulk nanophased components: The research should be focused on the updating/development of high throughput processes (extrusion, forming, casting, quick sintering processes) able to produce net-shape or semi-finished products with nanotechnologies and nanomaterials (proposed for 2011).

Complete Manufacturing chains for Nanophased Coatings: Future technologies for setting up highly engineered nanocoatings requires, beyond available source nanophased/engineered powders, highly organized and intelligent manufacturing chains having at the core quick time/temperature processes allowing the tuning of nanostructures (proposed for 2011).

Research will also focus on developing and characterizing high throughput processes for length scale integration (micro / nano) and manufacture of components and devices with complex 3D features in a single material.

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