The logistic footprint of a civil or military organisation depends directly on the diversity of the (spare-)parts, which are necessary to maintain or enable its continuous functioning. Further on, this may cause high requirements on storage capacity. A traditionally implemented solution is to reduce part diversity by standardisation and unification.
However, similar problems can be seen in the general industrial sector. The need to produce goods in small quantities, individually and only on demand, resulting from the doctrine of Industry 4.0 and small batch sizes, has brought about a change in the production of goods through additive manufacturing (AM).
AM technology is increasingly recognised as a flexible and cost-efficient manufacturing approach for producing high-quality parts for various industries. It is ideally suited for on-demand production.
The 2ARMY II project aims to implement the latest findings and industrial know-how from the preliminary project in the field of wire-based metal additive manufacturing in the form of an operational prototype of a mobile manufacturing cell for automated additive repair and manufacturing of parts and to offer it as a supplement to the supply and pioneer troops of the Austrian Armed Forces.
A large-scale trial operation phase in the project is intended to evaluate and improve the system’s operational capability. The needs and experience of the test persons with the prototype will be considered in the best possible way.
Another significant result of the project is the knowledge of which prior knowledge and training will be necessary for the successful use of this technology on the part of the Austrian Federal Armed Forces and which range of materials can be used as universally as possible about the "single material policy for AM". Suitable filling strategies and process parameters will be developed for those metallic materials.
In connection with the reproducibility of the results in AM, which currently limits broader use of technology, comprehensive process data acquisition together with blockchain technology, with which a non-compromisable and decentrally available logging of the manufacturing steps should be possible, appears promising and is being pursued as a solution approach within the framework of the project.
In the course of the project, possible civil use of the prototype should be an opportunity to enable easier access to AM technology, which currently remains very research-intensive, among a broad population, thereby promoting interest and competence and achieving a more significant positive impact overall.