Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development
Innovation: First research-industry alliance for 3d printing of hi-tech composite materials
New 3D printing methods to create cost-effective products with composite and hybrid materials for the aeronautical, automotive, missile and pharmaceutical sectors. This is the outcome of the project AMICO  funded with 8 million euro, half of which by the Ministry of University and Research. ENEA participates in the project as a partner of IMAST (lead partner), the Italian technological district for the engineering of composite and polymeric materials and structures which also includes Leonardo, FCA Italy, MBDA, Dompé Farmaceutici, Cnr, CRF, CIRA, Polytechnic of Turin and University of Naples Federico II. Also the University of Rome "La Sapienza", the University of Trento and Aerosoft Spa participated in the project as partners.
“The AMICO project represents a unique case, in which leading companies of totally different sectors, from the main Italian manufacturers in the automotive and aeronautical and missile sectors to one of the largest pharmaceutical companies, collaborate with a continuous exchange of know-how among them and the most prestigious universities and research institutions, giving life to a transversal and multidisciplinary project”, said Eva Milella, president of the IMAST district.
The production solutions implemented in the project use construction methods alternative to conventional processes and respond to the need to produce increasingly versatile and functional materials. Furthermore, with a view to circular economy, technologies have been used for the recycling of processing scraps and residues of thermoplastic systems, in particular those based on carbon fibre, deriving from the finishing activities of production.
ENEA participated in the activities of the aeronautical sector, developing both the recovery and valorisation of waste materials from Additive Manufacturing processes and process diagnostics using optical techniques, for an initial validation of the manufactured samples.
“AMICO was the occasion for ENEA to exchange views on the experimentation of our processes on new generation materials in the aeronautical composite sector. In addition to the application of the recovery processes developed, the project allowed us to experiment with new ways of using recovered carbon fibers (RCF), both as starting materials for ceramic materials and through the creation of filaments for 3D printing loaded”, pointed out Sergio Galvagno, ENEA researcher at the Nanomaterials and Devices Laboratory and project manager for the Agency. “Furthermore – he said – the application of optical techniques for process diagnostics has led to the development of different experimental set-ups applicable to the different materials examined”.