MAPP: EPSRC Future Manufacturing Hub in Manufacture using Advanced Powder Processes

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Materials Science and Engineering


Manufacture Using Advanced Powder Processes - MAPP

Conventional materials shaping and processing are hugely wasteful and energy intensive. Even with well-structured materials circulation strategies in place to recondition and recycle process scrap, the energy use, CO2 emitted and financial costs associated are ever more prohibitive and unacceptable. We can no longer accept the traditional paradigm of manufacturing where excess energy use and high levels of recycling / down cycling of expensive and resource intensive materials are viewed as inevitable and the norm and must move to a situation where 100% of the starting material is incorporated into engineering products with high confidence in the final critical properties.

MAPP's vision is to deliver on the promise of powder-based manufacturing processes to provide low energy, low cost, and low waste high value manufacturing route and products to secure UK manufacturing productivity and growth. MAPP will deliver on the promise of advanced powder processing technologies through creation of new, connected, intelligent, cyber-physical manufacturing environments to achieve 'right first time' product manufacture. Achieving our vision and realising the potential of these technologies will enable us to meet our societal goals of reducing energy consumption, materials use, and CO2 emissions, and our economic goals of increasing productivity, rebalancing the UK's economy, and driving economic growth and wealth creation.

We have developed a clear strategy with a collaborative and interdisciplinary research and innovation programme that focuses our collective efforts to deliver new understanding, actions and outcomes across the following themes:
1) Particulate science and innovation. Powders will become active and designed rather than passive elements in their processing. Control of surface state, surface chemistry, structure, bulk chemistry, morphologies and size will result in particles designed for process efficiency / reliability and product performance. Surface control will enable us to protect particles out of process and activate them within. Understanding the influence between particle attributes and processing will widen the limited palette of materials for both current and future manufacturing platforms.
2) Integrated process monitoring, modelling and control technologies. New approaches to powder processing will allow us to handle the inherent variability of particulates and their stochastic behaviours. Insights from advanced in-situ characterisation will enable the development of new monitoring technologies that assure quality, and coupled to modelling approaches allow optimisation and control. Data streaming and processing for adaptive and predictive real-time control will be integral in future manufacturing platforms increasing productivity and confidence.
3) Sustainable and future manufacturing technologies. Our approach will deliver certainty and integrity with final products at net or near net shape with reduced scrap, lower energy use, and lower CO2 emissions. Recoupling the materials science with the manufacturing science will allow us to realise the potential of current technologies and develop new home-grown manufacturing processes, to secure the prosperity of UK industry.

MAPP's focused and collaborative research agenda covers emerging powder based manufacturing technologies: spark plasma sintering (SPS), freeze casting, inkjet printing, layer-by-layer manufacture, hot isostatic pressing (HIP), and laser, electron beam, and indirect additive manufacturing (AM). MAPP covers a wide range of engineering materials where powder processing has the clear potential to drive disruptive growth - including advanced ceramics, polymers, metals, with our initial applications in aerospace and energy sectors - but where common problems must be addressed.

Planned Impact

The Impact of MAPP : The impact of research within MAPP will be on many fronts; technological, economic, on society and well-being and, through the people we train and the next generation we inspire, on the scientific and engineering workforce of the UK. We aim to deliver EPSRC impact across the full range of current themes: Resilient Nation, Productive Nation, Healthy Nation and Connected Nation through our work in developing the supply chain, a cyber-physical advanced powder manufacturing environment and in reducing waste and manufacturing costs. Specific impacts are projected to be:

Technological: MAPP will be instrumental in maintaining a leading and differentiated technology base within the UK, which is imperative to securing the future success of key industry sectors. Our vision - to deliver on the promise of advanced powder processes - will yield a number of impacts:
1. Achieving 'right first time' manufacturing in powder processes with new levels of process control reducing material waste, energy use and component rejection whilst assuring quality for the high value manufacturing sectors.
2. Develop smart production systems and through engineering manufacturing solutions for the factories of the future.
3. Develop new, homegrown manufacturing technologies for UK industry in an important and rapidly moving area, and one where homegrown developments have been sorely lacking.

Economic: MAPP will impact on broadly on the materials and manufacturing sector (15% of UK GDP) with applications from transport to energy. MAPP aims to help sustain the existing sector, by protecting their current market at the same time as generating growth in the existing market position, and to achieve growth in new markets through the development and application of novel manufacturing processes. In particular we envisage the following economic impacts:
1. Enable UK technology leadership in key global industries, by maintaining and growing a strong knowledge base in manufacturing to support our high value manufacturing sectors.
2. Reduce manufacturing costs via reduced energy use in process, reduced materials inputs, and new design freedoms that reduce component numbers and assembly operations.
3. Supporting the development of a complete and robust supply chain for UK industry in powder-based manufacturing.

Societal, Policy and People Impacts: MAPP will deliver a number of benefits in these areas:
1. Reduction in energy use (and CO2) in manufacturing of products and during lifetime
2. Have a positive impact on jobs and investment in the UK
3. Improve the health (reduced pollution) and wealth of the nation (jobs, economic growth).
4. Shape and contribute the national debate and development of strategies for UK manufacturing research and development with the community, funders and policy makers.
5. Train and nurture a new generation of manufacturing and engineering leaders.

Outreach: We seek to create an inclusive academic, research and industrial user community within MAPP, one that provides easy, supported and collaborative access to the facilities and research we will develop. Our community outreach activities are therefore designed to draw people into MAPP and establish a network of linked and complementary collaborative projects.

Public engagement: Our activities here are intended to contribute to the important narrative to increase the profile and prestige of manufacturing and engineering within the UK, which is critical to help address the nation's skills gap. We will develop our existing outreach activities with schools, including visits and talks, and producing videos such the Tomorrow's Engineers targeted at developing passion for engineering and physical sciences in teachers and school children.



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Abrams KJ (2019) Making Sense of Complex Carbon and Metal/Carbon Systems by Secondary Electron Hyperspectral Imaging. in Advanced science (Weinheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany)

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Ali H (2018) Residual stress development in selective laser-melted Ti6Al4V: a parametric thermal modelling approach in The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology

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Baraka A (2019) Long-term Learning for Type-2 Neural-Fuzzy Systems. in Fuzzy Sets and Systems

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Chen Y (2019) A biocompatible thermoset polymer binder for Direct Ink Writing of porous titanium scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. in Materials science & engineering. C, Materials for biological applications

Description 2020
Our interdisciplinary team of researchers from across the Hub, are developing new tools, insights and applications for advanced powder processing technologies. At the mid term point MAPP is a £20m research Hub, leveraging over £15m from industry, universities and other funding sources. We are strongly engaged with our industrial partners in aligned projects ranging from KTPs to collaborative R&D programmes supported by ATI and Innovate UK.

Highlights include:
- Novel process replicators at the Diamond synchrotron to probe advanced powder processes at high temporal and spatial resolution have uncovered new fundamental process understanding. These critical insights are feeding into our process models and metrology work.
- High resolution thermal monitoring systems for manufacturing processes.
- Machine learning and control researchers have developed data driven approaches to predict 'printability' in AM and worked with industry partners to solve issues of rapid defect identification and correction in AM systems.
- Work on FAST (Field Assisted Sintering Technology) is deepening our understanding of process mechanisms, enabling optimisation and improved process control, with aligned projects taking forward this technology with UK supply chain partners.
- New approaches to the additive manufacturing of multi-material ceramic components based on robocatsing.
- The demonstration of Direct Area Melting (DAM) as a full prototype system.
Exploitation Route We have a portfolio of aligned projects with commercial and catapult partners to developments to higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL), funded by industry, Innovate UK and Aerospace Technologies Institute (see Narrative Impact).
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport

Description - £2.7m leverage from industry partners directed on programmes of work to take forward research findings from core Hub research - £10.7m of aligned projects (with a further £10m industry leverage) - 52 publications including Nature, Nature Communications and Acta Materiala - 93 presentations at conferences (58 keynote / invited) - 8 feasibility projects funding projects in UK universities - Engagement with industrial and academic communities via conferences (MAPP International, AAMS) and community building events (Town Hall meeting to look at EPSRC Hub and industry use of UK's Large Facilities).
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Aerospace, Defence and