With SUPSI, as Technical Coordinator, the 4D Hybrid Project is in the front line of innovation

The Innovation Radar Prize 2019 of the European Commission aims to “recognise the dynamic women who develop and lead great innovations supported by EU-funding”. On August 5th, the EC launched a competition to identify Europe’s top future innovators.

The public has been invited to vote until August 26th, for their favourite among 36 nominees who have been developing innovations through EU-funded projects. The finalists came from all over Europe and from different categories (SMEs, universities, technical centers and start-ups). They have been identified through the European Commission’s Innovation Radar, a data-driven engine that aims to identify high potential innovations and the key innovators behind them.

The 36 best innovators have been competing in four categories:

The public chose three innovators that could get to the finals and 4Dhybrid, participating in the newly created category Women-led innovations, made it with the amazing result of 6924 votes!

The 4D Hybrid project will therefore be among the 12 finalists who get to pitch their plans for going to market with their EU-funded tech to a jury of experts at the Research and Innovation Days in Brussels (24, 25 and 26 September 2019). The jury will decide on one winner from each category. One overall ‘Grand Prix’ winner will also be chosen by the jury who will be featured on a euronews programme about their innovation and its market potential.

The woman leading 4D Hybrid innovation at SUPSI

Anna Valente is leading the 4Dhybrid innovation, and is the Head of  ARM Automation, Robotics and Machines Laboratory at SUPSI-DTI.

About the innovator

ARM (Automation, Robotics and Machines) laboratory is part of the Institute of Systems and Technologies for Sustainable Production (ISTePS). ISTePS is part of DTI (Department of Industrial Technologies) with SUPSI (University of Applied Science of Southern Switzerland). ARM mission is to design and engineer prototypes of robots and machines for advanced manufacturing technologies. This includes the overall robot and machine mechatronic solution, the control and monitoring systems. Remarkable examples of a previous work are a reconfigurable robotic arm reaching 5 micron accuracy in positioning and the largest machine solution integrating deposition and subtraction technologies for processing metal components.

The Innovative characteristics of 4D Hybrid

4D Hybrid project has been funded under the H2020 Call 723795 and involves 20 Partners from 10 different countries. The project is coordinated by Prima Industrie and the consortium involves 12 industrial players, operating as technology suppliers and end users. SUPSI is responsible for the research and technical coordination of 4D Hybrid. The 4D Hybrid main objective is to develop a new concept of hybrid additive manufacturing, supporting the Maintenance Repairing Operation MRO value chain with particular focus on medium to large size high added value components. In detail, this entails the development of compact and low-cost modules including laser source, deposition head, sensors and control that can be integrated on robots and machines; such modules embed various technologies to enable additive and subtractive technologies – such as Direct Energy Deposition (DED) and Ablation or Cold Spray (CS) – in addition to technologies for monitoring and inspection.4D Hybrid equipment portfolio is conceived for running both in a standard production facility and in off-shore harsh environment. This makes the project results suitable for aerospace, oil &gas and power generation industries. The modularity concept together with the adoption of complex sensor-based monitoring systems will enrich the current state-of-the-art hybrid solutions with promising prototypes (TRL7), aiming to provide new possibilities for production and repairing sectors where a multitude of technologies and equipment will be flexibly adopted.

Out of the lab. Into the market

The project exploitation strategy relies upon major industrial stakeholders of the project consortium that are very active in the MRO industry. For example – Prima Industrie will include in the company product portfolio the deposition modules for DED and Comau will launch a new generation of robots for additive manufacturing and milling operations. With SUPSI, ARM Lab – thanks to a rich industrial network of partners – deeply operates in supporting National and European industries to enable the adoption of cutting-edge solutions. 4D Hybrid modules can be integrated in any sort of manufacturing equipment, thus avoiding major overhaul at industrial level. With this regard, a key sensitive aspect for us is to deploy solutions that are frictionless for end-users and demand for a very limited ramp-up time. This should ensure a faster and efficient absorption of project results. Also, 4D Hybrid demonstrators are currently running in ARM physical laboratories to support side activities, such as industrial mandates and equipment commissioning to industrial customers; this boost our comprehension of advantages and drawbacks during the modules’ integration in the overall production infrastructure and industrial value chain. The idea is always to target the realization of reliable and industrially robust solutions. 

Benefits of participation in Horizon 2020

Thanks to H2020 funded 4D Hybrid project SUPSI has been able to improve its knowledge and capabilities on additive and subtractive technologies, with respect to different aspects such as design and developing of equipment (up to TRL7), advanced monitoring solutions and CAD/CAM processes and design of hybrid process recipes for high carbon content alloys. In addition, a major outcome was given by the knowledge gained in the design and developing of different hybrid process recipes for many metallic materials, ranging from common steels, such as AISI316L, up to tough materials, such as Ni-based and high-carbon content alloys.

The Team behind the innovation

Previous Innovation Radar Prize winners

In 2018, the overall winner was Gr3n, a swiss company who invented a new process which allows for the first time to recycle PET bottles/food containers chemically in a profitable way. The objective is now to build the first pilot plant of the full de-polymerization process, designing and building a new reactor prototype but also embedding it within an optimized purification process. This will be the final step to then finalize the industrialization and bring to the market this revolutionary re-cycling solution.Learn more about Gr3n in this euronews feature

In 2017 the overall winner was CATEC, a Spanish Aviation research centre, for industrial drones they developed with EU funding. Their drones can not only allow “see” from the air, but also “touch and feel”. The CATEC drones – which integrate a robotic arm, advanced software and state-of-the-art sensors – open up new possibilities for performing industrial inspections that require contact. Learn more about CATEC in this euronews feature.

In 2016 the overall Innovation Radar prize was awarded to Intrinsic-ID, a Dutch SME, which developed a unique technology and has become a world leader in security systems. Their technology – authentication technology based on the electronic fingerprint of devices – was developed within the EU-funded project PUFFIN. Intrinsic ID are today selling this technology to customers around the world. Learn more about Intrinsic ID in this euronews feature.

In 2015, the first ever Innovation Radar Prize was awarded to BroadBit, during the ICT 2015 event in Lisbon. Since then, BroadBit, an SME originally from Slovakia but now based in Finland, have raised additional finance to fund expansion and production of their innovative battery technology. Learn more about BroadBit in this euronews feature.