Ready, Set, Go
Ford and RWTH Aachen University Chair DAP accelerate joint research
Generating future-relevant research results in the shortest possible time is the aim of the joint seed funding initiative between Ford and RWTH Aachen University Chair for Digital Additive Production DAP. In Aachen's Photonics Cluster, eight DAP scientists introduced their project ideas from various Additive Manufacturing areas to Ford employees in a casual atmosphere.
Even for short-term projects, long lead times and countless iteration loops require a huge project planning effort. Ford now enables the DAP experts to conduct industry-relevant research quickly and straight by providing a budget for the RWTH Aachen Chair DAP within the so-called “seed funding”.
“This direct access to the expertise of the RWTH Aachen Chair DAP allows Ford to generate relevant research results and to follow up on innovative ideas at short notice. Resultantly, we can identify practicable research topics and pursue them in the longer term,” explains Dr. Maik Broda, Head of Advanced Materials & Processes at Ford.
The initiative is a further complement to the already existing close cooperation, which is currently crowned by the largest 3D printed metal component ever installed in a fully functional vehicle: an aluminum intake manifold in the Ford F-150 pick-up of American stunt driver Ken Block.
Prof. Johannes Henrich Schleifenbaum, Head of the RWTH Aachen Chair DAP, emphasizes the successful cooperation: “The research results we have already achieved together with Ford show that Additive Manufacturing is in its advanced stages of development in Aachen. With the help of the joint initiative, we are now able to realize the potential of this technology even faster and more efficiently.”
This innovative collaboration is also attracting interest outside the RWTH Aachen Chair DAP.
RWTH Innovation GmbH, a supportive link between industry and university, manages major projects within the framework of the Ford RWTH Research Alliance. They would like to introduce the seed funding concept into other research areas as a future research catalyst.
Text: Yvonne Dobrzanski-Esser, RWTH Aachen Lehrstuhl für Digital Additive Production DAP