About the NSERC HI-AM Network
Additive manufacturing (AM) has the potential to change the entire manufacturing sector by 2030. Despite the substantial progress that has been made in recent years in the metal AM field, there are several remaining challenges hindering its widespread industry adoption:
- the need for an expanded range of feedstock metal materials;
- the need for health and safety criteria for handling AM metal powders;
- the need for faster build rates and greater build volumes;
- the need for increased process repeatability and reliability;
- the need for better part surface quality; and
- the need for quality education on design practices.
The Holistic Innovation in Additive Manufacturing (HI-AM) Network has been formed to work on innovative solutions to address these challenges and to equip Canada for the era of Industry 4.0 and “digital-to-physical conversion.” With major investment from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Network investigates fundamental scientific issues associated with AM pre-fabrication, fabrication, and post-fabrication processing. It facilitates collaboration between Canada’s leading research groups in advanced materials processing and characterization, powder synthesis, alloy development, advanced process simulation and modeling, precision tool-path planning, controls, sensing, and applications.
The University of Waterloo hosts the NSERC HI-AM Network. This Network brings nineteen leading AM experts from seven Canadian universities together. These researchers and their teams share ideas, innovations, and access to the advanced research infrastructure and devices essential for holistic AM experiments.
The HI-AM Network's thirteen industry partners demonstrate the broad impact potential of AM technology and the need for a collaborative approach. These partners include natural resource and energy firms, tooling and part repair specialists, and software developers, as well as major aerospace, automotive, and biomedical device manufacturers. These research-driven partnerships ensure Network results are directly applicable to manufacturing in Canada and globally, so innovations can be rapidly transferred to, and implemented by industry.
HI-AM is the first national academic additive manufacturing initiative in Canada. This Network builds the partnerships, develops the intellectual property, and trains the highly skilled individuals Canada needs to compete in this crucial arena of advanced manufacturing.