How Hybrid Manufacturing Processes Could Revolutionize Industry

How Hybrid Manufacturing Processes Could Revolutionize Industry

By Omar Fergani

Complexity is at the heart of innovating added value engineered products. Future products will be multi-functioning and made from a gradient of materials and properties. They will take into account environmental concerns like energy use and toxicity, and will perform on a level much higher than our current processes are capable of manufacturing.  

To produce these innovations, there is a new manufacturing concept.

Hybrid Manufacturing Processes:

During the last decade, the emergence and the maturity of additive manufacturing is leading a fundamental shift in the way we design and manufacture products. This shift has numerous benefits including design freedom, materials saving and the reduction of the manufacturing system footprint through supply chain revolutions.

Further, additive manufacturing enabled the emergence of a new generation of processes called “hybrid” manufacturing processes. These processes are defined as an integrated combination of usually separated performed process steps e.g. stretch forming and incremental sheet metal forming. Specifically, the hybrid manufacturing center associating additive and subtractive processes are of a great interest to precision industry.

“The integration will play a key role in the reduction of manufacturing cost and increase of economic competitiveness of technological companies”

The hybrid manufacturing center is considered to be the future machine tool. They will play a key role in the development of complex high added value products. Not only will it reduce manufacturing costs, but it will also increase economic competitiveness of technological companies. Potential applications include biomedical products like knee implants.

Optimizing Manufacturing Processes:

The hybrid manufacturing process will contribute substantially to reduce the time to market for innovative products such as personalized implants. Integrated machines will also provide surface finishing and treatment using laser technology. The utilization of cladding nozzle in the large CNC milling centers will provide a key technology to manufacture large components in a very short time.

There are no limitations to the possibilities offered by the hybrid processes. However, many complex challenges are already identified. The defect induced by residual stresses are one of the main difficulties that requires complex mathematical understanding and advanced material characterization in order to elucidate the basic mechanisms.

The future of this technology will depend on the collaboration between academia and industry to accelerate the adoption of this technology and provide fundamental understanding of these processes.

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