The European manufacturing sector is currently focusing on Additive Manufacturing (AM), one of the main pillars of Industry 4.0, to maintain its leadership in the industrial sector. Strengthened by the presence on its territory of the main developers of machines, systems and software for Additive Manufacturing and of the most innovative start-ups recently launched, the Old Continent must now fill-in the gap of skills and professionals with specific training in the sector, to consolidate the predominance of these technologies.

Within this scenario, the LILIAM project – Lifelong Learning for Additive Manufacturing, was recently inaugurated with the aim to develop a European training standard for operators, specialists, engineers and managers in the field of Additive Manufacturing, and to create the first European training certificate in AM. The training modules, which will combine traditional and innovative teaching approaches, will be designed by an international network of partners from 8 European countries (Sirris (BE), CEA (FR), Aitiip (SP), Fotec (AT), Tampere University of Technology (FI), Fraunhofer IWS (GE), Trentino Sviluppo (IT)) coordinated by the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Politecnico di Milano under the guidance of Prof. Bianca M. Colosimo.

The two-year project was inaugurated on january 24, 2019 and is funded by EIT - Raw Materials. During the first year the consortium will define the requirements of the training program with the support of an industrial board composed of representatives from different sectors and different European countries, and will design the training modules (materials and processes for Additive Manufacturing, product design and optimization of process, process modeling and simulation, quality monitoring and control, technologies for post-process treatments and processes, hybrid processes, qualification and certification, standards and management of intellectual property, cost analysis and lifecycle assessment, circular economy applied to 3D printing ). During the second year, a pilot course will be implemented to develop the modules and training approaches, and to collect feedbacks from the companies involved, so as to best calibrate the program, based on actual industrial needs.

The partners will provide cutting-edge knowledge and laboratories, equipped with the predominant AM technologies, to ensure a strong hands-on training. In addition to the coordination of the project, the Department of Mechanical Engineering will design two training modules related to the monitoring and control of Additive Manufacturing processes and the management of end-of-life material recycling, in line with the goals of process sustainability and circular economy.

The research skills and laboratories of DMecc in the field of AM technologies will be also at service, for the next two years, of the European initiative Erasmus + Skills Strategy in Additive Manufacturing (SAM), launched with the aim of defining the reference platform for the skills of this sector at regional, national and European level. The Department of Mechanical Engineering, which participates in SAM together with the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering of PoliMi and 15 other international partners, will contribute to the project as a privileged observer of the needs and requirements of the industrial ecosystem in the AM context, in terms of missing skills and current requests from industries. Many companies interested in adopting AM are in fact experiencing deep difficulties in the processes of requalification and training of new profiles that are able to manage the digitalization of the manufacturing processes that AM involves.

In a recent interview on Italian national television (TG1 RAI - from 13’33’’), along with prof. Taisch of the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering and prof. Sciuto, Deputy Rector, prof. Colosimo spoke from our labs about the upcoming scenarios in Additive Manufacturing.