Jun 3, 2016 | By Kira

French 3D printing specialist Poly-Shape and Groupe Air Liquide, a world leader in gases, technologies and services for industry and health, have launched FAIR, a multi-million euro initiative that aims to develop advanced technologies and processes within France’s industrial additive manufacturing industry. To support this important project, French investment bank Bpifrance has announced that it will invest €10.5 million this year alone, and €35 million over the next four years. In addition to Poly-Shape and Groupe Air Liquide, the initiative includes two industrial partners, Adisseo and Auer, and five academic partners.

FAIR (which in French stands for Fabrication Additive pour Intensification de Réacteur, or Additive Manufacturing for Reactor Intensification) seeks to promote a competitive French AM sector, wherein advanced 3D printing technologies are used to enhance equipment, processes, and products in the areas of design, manufacture, and functionality.

The FAIR consortium has identified three key applications for research and development, each of which corresponds with an industrial partner. The first is hydrogen mobility, which will be led by Air Liquide. For its part, heating specialist Auer will oversee micro-CHP development (micro combined heat and power). Finally, Adisseo will explore 3D printed nutritional additives for animal feed. Though these may seem like unconventional areas for advanced 3D printing research compared to, say, automotive or aerospace design, additive manufacturing is an extremely versatile technology that has the potential to improve energy consumption, material waste, part complexity, material properties and more.

As founding member, Poly-Shape will provide its 3D printing expertise, manufacturing 3D printed parts and equipment for the consortium members. Poly-Shape is a recognized leader in 3D printing innovation, known for 3D printing the largest additively manufactured parts in Europe for a pair of Thales Alenia Space satellites, and for developing 3D printed spinal implants.

To fulfill their research goals, the consortium’s industrial partners will also have access to the scientific and technical expertise of the CNRS (National Scientific Research Center) and Arts et Métiers (National School of Arts and Trades).

Overall, the aim is to drive forward France’s additive manufacturing industry, which is already considered a world leader, what with the presence of Airbus, Fives Michelin Additive Solutions, Dassault Systèmes and more. Over the next four years, FAIR seeks to further enhance France’s 3D printing leadership across all sectors by developing more complex 3D printed parts while reducing energy waste and production costs.

The €10.5 million in funding, announced this week, will come in the form of loans (€5.5M) and grants (€5M), and is financed by the National Investment Program (AIP). Bpifrance, a government-supported financial institute, currently manages a sum of €529 million dedicated to funding strategic R&D projects and innovative businesses that ‘strengthen competitiveness clusters’ within the country.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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