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High Performance Production through 3D-Printing

High Performance Production through 3D-Printing

Additive manufacturing (AM) technologies have been identified as one of the most promising production technologies at global level. They are considered to empower the transition from mass production to mass customization in several leading sectors. However, 3DP capabilities and actors still operate in largely disconnected and fragmented value chains in Europe. This is partly due to fragmented efforts in technology deployment; it is also due to a lack of connection between AM technology suppliers and aggregated demand. The key objective of the Vanguard 3DP Pilot is to accelerate market uptake of 3DP applications in the EU through development of industry-led, transregional demonstration platforms. The key point of focus is on ‘demonstration’, i.e. activities beyond ‘prototyping’ (> TRL5), and thus NOT on joint R&D projects. The focus lies also on cross-regional demonstration, i.e. showing a clear added value compared to what already exists at regional level. Finally, it targets activities with high business relevance, i.e. industry-led. Bringing prototypes to production by securing the reproducibility of application remains a critical point for the industry. This is where this pilot aims to make a difference.

The 3DP Pilot follows the Vanguard initiative ‘common methodology’ (learn-connect-demonstrate-commercialise).

  • LEARN (Sept-Dec 2014): ‘scoping paper’ summarising common rationale and mission statement.
  • LEARN (Oct 2014-June 2015): mapping of most relevant actors, detailed regional capabilities, needs and ambitions (ca 1,000 actors incl. more than 650 companies).
  • CONNECT (June – May 2016): analysis of mapping results led to the identification of specific opportunities for interregional joint-demonstration.
  • CONNECT-DEMONSTRATE (since mid-2016): identification of cross regional business opportunities, co-development of business plans and search for funding. We are now entering the final, fifth step: implementation of new value chains and commercialisation.

The main objective for 2017-2018 is to materialize the identified synergies, wide and expanding industrial interest and regional commitment into a (sustainable) pipeline of effective industrial projects. In this context, the specific objectives below will be pursued:

  • Ensuring efficient operational governance and organization
  • Identifying and securing funding for Pilot activities and demonstration cases
  • Facilitating and supporting the effective implementation of the “demonstrate phase”
  • Identifying new cases and reinvigorating some existing ones

Support cross-Pilot Activities, when they refer to the launch of pilot’s projects and demo-cases (e.g. collective submission of a H2020 proposal with another pilot, but not support for e.g. implementation of cross-pilot communication strategy). 


Democase: 3D-Prinded Hybrid Component
Objective: This project is going to demonstrate innovative hybrid multi-material components that can take advantage by 3DP technology.

Main focus on 3DP metals – CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics) combinations for different automotive and industrial applications such as hard trim interior products, structural elements, external components, and powertrain elements.

Leading region: Emilia Romagna (orga: Università di Bologna, UNIBO)

Participating / Co-leading regions: Aragona, Norte, Baden Wurttenberg, Saxony, Lombardy, Rhone-Alpes.

Organisations: CIRI MAM University of Bologna, TUC Chemnitz, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Vehicle Concepts, Politecnico di Milano, Centre Technique de la Plasturgie

Contact person: Luca Tomanesi (UNIBO), luca.tomesani [at]
Democase: Additive-Subtractive platform
Objective: The case aims at integrating additive & subtractive technology production flows to enable a quick, professional analysis of several production process set-ups by the participating companies. The objective is to develop a digitally connected network of pilot lines / production hubs able to produce in a cost effective way one piece or small product series with an extreme high precision, high finish and added value, combining additive and subtractive technologies for non-market specific   applications
Leading region: South-Netherlands (Brainport)

Participating / Co-leading regions: Baden-Württemberg; Emilia-Romagna; Flanders; Lombardy; Trentino; Saxony.

Organisations: Brainport Development, TU Chemnitz (MERGE), DLR, CIRI MAM University of Bologna, Flame3D, Politecnico di Milano

Contact person: Coen De Graaf (Brainport)
Democase: 3D-Printed automotive components (mono-material) for large (>2500 mm), medium and small complex parts

Objective: The main objective is the application of additive manufacturing technologies in the automotive sector, covering the entire value chain:

  • From vehicle builders, to integrators and component manufacturers.
  • To carry out additive manufacturing applications in design, prototype, tooling and final product phases, specially oriented to product customizations and short series.
  • Involving the main players in the automotive sector to start applications in the lines described.
  • To include several KET`s and to integrate them with additive manufacturing technologies to increase the added value to the products.
  • To enable the application of additive manufacturing to market gaps, such as large parts production, including metal and non-metal materials.

Targeted sectors are Automotive, aeronautics, shipbuilding, railway, construction.

Leading region: Aragon (orga: AITIIP))

Participating regions: Emilia Romagna (IT), Norte (PT), Baden-Wurttemberg (DE), Lombardy (IT),

Other participants: CIRI MAM University of Bologna, Produtech, Politecnico di Milano, DLR.

Contact persons: Berta Gonzalvo (AITIIP Technological Centre), berta.gonzalvo [at]

Democase: Machinery, Tooling and Complex Shapes

Objective: To set up a demonstration platform to help SME’s overcome the entrance barriers to additive manufacturing with a minimum of risks. A European network of experience, competences and resources covering all aspects of AM, from redesign to pre-production, supports with tangible facts technical and economical validation on real life applications.

The platform is focused on mature AM technologies implementation and is close to industrial expectations and requirements. It is a demonstration platform dealing with SME’s problems and likely to generate R&D requirements based on industrial requests, but its main scope is to demonstrate usefulness of sofa technologies.

Leading region: Wallonia (orga: SIRRIS)
Co-leading regions: Lombardy, Aragon, Catalonia, Norte, Tampere, Rhone-Alpes, Trentino; South Netherlands.
Contact person: Jacky Lecomte (SIRRIS),  Jacky.Lecomte [at]
Democase: Healthcare case
Objective: The case aims at developing cross regional demonstration activities in the fields of 3D printed external orthosis and internal implants/prostheses. In the long term, the main objective is to demonstrate the feasibility, the value, the sustainability and the efficacy, as well as safety, of the 3DP technology once applied to medical problems. From the original domain of external devices (orthotics, prosthetics, braces, splint, insoles, etc.) we have recently enlarged the potential spectrum to any device, including implants, prostheses, organs, dental, etc.
Leading region: Emilia Romagna (orga: Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli)
Contact person: Alberto leardini (DPhil – Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna) – leardini [at]
Democase: Creative industries - Mass-customized consumer products
Objective: This case would focus on creative industries and would address topics that still have to defined (but could include e.g. design rules, etc. (subject to change). The following sectors could be, among others, considered: furniture/toys, footwear, wearables, etc.
Leading region: Norte (orga: INEGI)

Participating / Co-leading regions: Lombardy (IT), Catalonia (ES)

Organisations: Cofindustria, Leitat

Contact person: Vanessa Santiso, vsantiso [at]
Democase: 3DP inTextile
Objective: A preliminary (broad) common challenge was identified but is still subject to change: ‘towards an easy, cheap and quick use of Fused deposition modelling (FDM) on Fabrics’.
Leading region: Lombardy (orga: Unindustriacomo)

Participating / Co-leading regions: Flanders (BE), Nord-Pas-de-Calais (FR)

Organisations: Centexbel, Up-Tex

Contact person: Michele Malvestiti (Unindustriacomo), m.malvestiti [at]


Source: Shutterstock


Leading Regions Organisations Contact person
Flanders (BE) EWI Liesbet Schruers; liesbet.schruers [at]
South-Netherlands (NL) Brainport Development Wim De Kinderen; w.dekinderen [at]
Norte (PT) PRODUTECH Pedro Rocha; pedro.rocha [at]
Participating regions Main organisations
Andalusia (ES)  
Asturias (ES)  
Auvergne Rhône Alpes (FR) CT-IPC
Baden-Wurttemberg (DE) DLR, Steinbeis-Europa
Catalonia (ES) Eurecat, LEITAT
East Netherlands (NL)  
Emilia-Romagna (IT) Aster, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Università di Bologna (UNIBO)
Flanders (BE) Flame 3D, Agoria
Lombardy (IT) AFIL, Confindustria, Politecnico di Milano
Lower Austria EcoPlus
Malopolska (PL)  
Hauts-de France (FR)
Nord Rhine Westphalia (DE) DMRC, NMWP, Univ Paderborn
Region Örebro County (SE) Alfred Nobel Science Park
Saxony (DE) MERGE, Technischen Universität Chemnitz
Skåne (SE)  
South-Holland (NL) Brainport Development, TNO Eindhoven
Tampere (FI) Technical University Tampere
Trentino (IT) Hub Innovazione Trentino (HIT) and Trentino Sviluppo
Upper Austria (AT) Business Upper Austria (Biz-Up)
Wallonia (BE) Sirris, Pole MecaTech


Latest news on 'High Performance Production through 3D-Printing '
Vanguard Initiative in latest issue of Panorama Magazine

The 5th plenary meeting of the 3D-printing pilot was a great success

See also the poster of the European Commission: Interregional partnership for Smart Specialisation - 3D PRINTING