Benefits to Canada and Partners

Economic Benefits: It is expected that in the next 5 to 10 years, HI-AM’s research results will play a significant role in promoting the adoption of additive manufacturing (AM) by the Canadian aerospace, automotive, energy, biomedical, resource, and defence sectors for applications that are strategic to the Canadian economy, in terms of technical content and added value. In the longer-term, the critical impacts likely to occur are:

  • commercial availability of new materials optimized for AM;
  • reaching critical number of highly qualified personnel (HQP) knowledgeable in metal AM field;
  • optimization of AM equipment through the addition of novel monitoring devices and closed-loop control modules;
  • cost reductions related to material input and AM equipment; and
  • facilitation of the rapid adoption of AM products and processes across manufacturing sectors, increasing business and market potential nationally and internationally.

Environmental Benefits: Beyond the incredible process flexibility inherent in AM technologies, AM also offers some major environmental benefits. Manufacturing activities are responsible for approximately 19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions [1]. AM technologies, however, are greener than conventional methods due to less material waste and up to 50% energy saving during the production [1]. Moreover, metal-based AM technologies virtually eliminate machining and the subsequent need for toxic cutting fluids which are challenging to dispose of and have negative environmental impact [2]. In addition, AM parts can reduce the weight of an aircraft by 50 to 100 kg. This results in 7,500 to 15,000 litres reduction in the annual fuel consumption per each aircraft.

HQP Training: The successful adoption of AM is closely linked to the availability of HQP trained in this technology. The multidisciplinary training philosophy that is promoted by the HI-AM Network provides an ideal environment to train professional engineers in this strategic discipline for Canada. It will foster independence and entrepreneurial skills that will be highly sought after by Canada’s AM manufacturers, universities, hospitals, national research centers, and end-users. The HI-AM program includes multidisciplinary training in manufacturing, materials science, computer-aided design, and computational process modeling that are critical to provide HQP with the training and skills to valuably contribute to AM innovation.

[1] N. Diaz, M. Helu, S. Jayanathan, Y. Chen, A. Horvath, and D. Dornfeld, “Environmental Analysis of Milling Machine Tool Use Various Manufacturing Environments,” Berkeley: Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability and implications for potential energy savings in industry. Procedia CIRP, 1: 518J523, 2012.
[2] “Additive Manufacturing: Pursuing the Promise”, US Department of Energy, 2012.