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EmpowerAX selected for JEC Composites Innovation Award 2024 finals

The DLR-led projects involves several additive companies competing in the Aerospace Process category

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Annually, the JEC Composites Innovation Awards recognize successful initiatives and collaborative efforts within the composites industry. Over the past 26 years, ahead of the JEC World conference in Paris, the program has engaged over 2,000 companies globally, honoring 225 companies and 573 partners for their outstanding achievements in composites innovation and effective partnerships. Among this year’s 33 finalists, the DLR-led EmpowerAX – Additive Fucntionalistion project, selected in the Aerospace Process category, features several composite AM and LFAM companies, including 9T Labs, Airtech Europe, CEAD, Ensinger and more.

Criteria for the awards include partner involvement in the value chain, project complexity, and commercial potential. The EmpowerAX – Additive Functionalisation is carried out by the German Aerospace Center (Germany). Besides the ones mentioned above, the complete list of partners includes Ansys Switzerland GmbH (Switzerland), Fiberthree GmbH (Germany), FILL Gesellschati m.b.H. (Austria), Hans Weber Maschinenfabrik GmbH / WEBER additive (Germany), PRIME aerostructures GmbH (Austria), Siemens AG (Germany), Suprem SA (Switzerland), SWMS Systemtechnik Ingenieurgesellschati mbH (Germany).

EmpowerAX, selected for JEC Composites Innovation Award 2024, finals involves several additive companies in the Aerospace Process category

The EmpowerAX Demo Part is a multi-curved thermoset shell additively functionalized with short and continuous fiber-reinforced elements realized by DLR and 12 EmpowerAX members. It demonstrates the industrially available process chain for “Additive Functionalisation”.

In other words, the project showcases the concept of additive functionalization and its industrially available process chain. It is a collaborative project within DLR Innovation Lab EmpowerAX where DLR and the twelve industrial players – from design and simulation experts over CAD-CAM specialists to printing and material suppliers – joined forces to demonstrate the capability of overprinting a multi-curved thermoset shell with high-performance, short- and continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic material. Cost-efficient composite manufacturing is combined with the high agility and design freedom of additive manufacturing.

The key benefits of this approach include cost-efficient composite manufacturing, which helps reduce production expenses. Additionally, it allows for the overprinting of a multi-curved shell, enabling the creation of complex shapes and structures. Furthermore, this technique combines the advantages of both thermosetting and thermoplastic polymers, providing flexibility and durability. It also utilizes short and continuous fiber-reinforced materials, enhancing the strength and performance of the composites. Finally, the entire process chain is industrially available, ensuring that these benefits can be realized on a large scale in various industrial applications.

EmpowerAX, selected for JEC Composites Innovation Award 2024, finals involves several additive companies in the Aerospace Process category

After pre-selection of the 33 finalists, one winner will be selected in each of the 11 categories, which include, Aerospace – Parts, Aerospace – Process, Automotive & Road Transportation – Parts, Automotive & Road Transportation – Process, Building & Civil Engineering, Circularity & Recycling, Digital, AI & Data, Equipment, Machinery & Heavy Industries, Maritime Transportation & Shipbuilding, Renewable Energies, Sports, Leisure & Recreation.

The competition is open to any company, university, or R&D Center with a compelling collaborative innovation or concept to showcase. The success of participants is closely tied to partnerships and collective intelligence. Beyond being a ceremony, these awards serve as a platform to spotlight potentially undisclosed projects, inspiring and motivating an expert audience eager to explore new frontiers. While most of the projects do not involve additive manufacturing directly, many of the most advanced composite manufacturing processes include some kind of 3D weaving and other 3D manufacturing techniques.

The international jury representing the entire composites value chain includes:

•Hüseyin ATES, CTO & Compounding BU Leader, Kordsa
•Pr. Alan BANKS, Innovation & Industrial Engagement Supervisor, Ford Motor Company
•Pr. Christophe BINETRUY, Professor, Centrale Nantes / Nantes Université
•Tamara BLANCO, Composite Materials & Processes Engineer & Expert, Airbus
•Dale BROSIUS, Executive VP/Chief Commercialization Officer, IACMI – The Composite Institute
•Michel COGNET, Chairman of the Board, JEC
•Dr. Karl-Heinz FÜLLER, Manager Future Exterior and Materials, Mercedes-Benz
•Dr. Sung HA, Professor, Hanyang University
•Guy LARNAC, Technical Domain Coordinator for Materials, Structures and Industrialization JTFR, Ariane Group •Pr. Véronique MICHAUD, Head of Laboratory for Processing of Advanced Composites (LPAC), EPFL
•Pr. Kiyoshi UZAWA, Professor/Director, Innovative Composite Center, Kanazawa Institute of Technology.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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