The C-FAST project (Design for additive manufacturing by Stratoconception® using TopSolid®) obtains investment for the Future Program (PIA)
C-FAST (design for additive manufacturing by Stratoconception® using TopSolid®) is a Research & Development project sponsorised by Missler Software in partnership with CIRTES to develop the Additive Manufacturing sector using an innovative 3D industrial printing method by Stratoconception®.For a total cost of 4.3 million euros over 3 years, 2.2 millions euros are funded by the Investments for the Future Program, which is managed by the Investment General Commissariat (CGI) and operated by BpiFrance. The funding breaks down into 830 000 euros in grants and 1.4 million euros in reimbursable advances.
The C-FAST project concerns the creation of a comprehensive software and hardware offering for additive manufacturing (AM) by Stratoconception® using TopSolid®. It will implement a unified, continuous and reversible digital chain from design for additive manufacturing through final inspection. It offers dedicated automatic standalone stations, or the improvement of existing machines by integrating software and hardware modules and by adapting an operations robotization kit. It was submitted as part of the Industry of the Future call for projects.
AM technologies are emerging and penetrating evry field in the production industries, replacing or supplémenting subtractive processes that remove material. Among the seven identified and standardized AM technologies, one of them, Stratoconception® allows the manufacture of very large parts using standard materials, with a very high level of finishing. This technique allows the creation of very complex forms and the integration of inserts, features, sensors, etc. Its application are manufacturing of prototypes and mock-ups, manufacturing of molds and models, an direct production of large parts, for example for interior finishings or design. The layers of material used by Stratoconception® are already in 3D (the other processes are in 2D). A second step optimizes the 3D and the desired finish and roughness via rapid micromilling. The constraining factor of this technology is the need for human manipulation when assembling the layers and installing the inserts. Automation and robotization are tools taht will enable a productivity gain concerning the Stratoconception® machines.
Furthermore, the emergency of AM processes requires the transfer of files obtained from various commercially available computer-assisted design applications in STL file format in order to communicate with the various AM machines used in the factory. However, this step is reductive because it no longer allows the transfer of information obtained from manufacturing to modify the source models, or reproducing the variability of the initial model in several dimensions, without having to redo all the work. C-FAST gets rids of this STL transfer step. It is important to be able to fluidify upward and downward exchanges because it allows savings and improves productivity and quality.
The C-FAST project arose from the convergence of these two findings. It must help to create a unified and reversible digital chain based on a TopSolid core, and consolidate productivity and assembly quality by automating and robotizing the tasks. This project, which structures the sector, will allow Stratoconception's competitive edge to be consolidated in the world of industrial manufacturing and potentially beyond. It is well positioned to submit its candidacy to the Industry of the Future call for projects.
The C-FAST consortium is nation-wide or even worldwide given the potential customers of these two partners. It comprises Missler Software, a Paris-region based SME that leads the consortium, and th Vosges-based company CIRTES SRC. C-FAST, led by two leading companies in their respective fields, offers a solution designed and developed entirely in France.
During the launch and change management phases, both partners will have enjoy the benefits of an ecosystem dedicated to Additive Manufacturing: VirtuReal®, an excellency cluster dedicated to fast product development lovated at Saint-Dié-Des-Vosges and including CIRTES SRC, the engineering school GIP-InSIC (Institut Supérieur d'Ingénierie de la Conception), the Institut Mines-Télécom, ACTARUS SAS, specialized in machining monitoring, and INORI SAS, an innovation platform that facilitates the move from R&D to the industrialization of new products and processes.
The C-FAST ecosystem consists of solution designers and users around the innovation engine embodied by the integrated digital chain and the automation of Stratoconception® . This project will have environmental consequences and a role in training people. It contributes to the strenght and future of a manufacturing industry sector by fluidifying information exchanges and generating savings, productivity and quality.
It meets companies'needs for creativity, competitiveness and productivity by providing new toold to design and quickly manufacture, via Additive Manufacturing, new personalized and functionalized products in a unified environment, from design to final inspection.
About PIA (Investments for the Futur Program)
The Investments for the Future Program, managed by the General Commisariat for Industry (CGI), has been allotted 47 billion euros, of which 36 billion have already been committed since 2010 to six strategic areas for the France of tomorrow:
- higher learning and training
- research and its applications
- industrial modernization
- sustainable development
- digital economy
- health and biotechnologies
About PIAVE (Indsutrial Projects of the Future)
The PIAVE call for projects concerns projects that are consistent with the approach of the 9 solutions of New Industrial France.
It concerns two types of projects:
- R&D and industrialization projects
- projects designed to strengthen the competitiveness of strategic French sectors
These projects must benefit several independent small or medium-sized businesses (up to 5 000 employees) and represent a concrete and essential contribution to the sector and its structure. They must also involve an industrial activity and demonstrate that they will eventually be able to operate without public support.
To be eligible, the projects must present a program with a minimum expenditure of €3m and concern a subject that will potentially generate business opportunities and create jobs:
- That corresponds to one or more solutions of New Industrial France, in particular through the implementation of a roadmap validated by the 9 solutions Steering Committee. In this case, the project must be sponsored by a company, regardless of its size. In a consortium it can partner with other companies, laboratories, or research centers.
- that corresponds to one of the objectives of one of the sector's strategic committees; alternately, the project can be sponsored by an entity that brings several companies together, or by an entity representing the companies in the sector (trade federation, economic interest group (EIG), association, etc).
An envelop of €305m will be allocated to the "Industrial Projects of the Future" (PIAVE) initiative in the form of government aid (grants and reimbursable advances).
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About Missler Software
Created in 1984, Missler Software, headquartered in Evry, with 2015 revenues of €36m, is one of the world's leading publishers of CAD/CAM/ERP solution. Today, its product range is unique on the market. The company mainly targets the mechanical sector (machinery, subcontracting, tools, etc.), sheet metal work and the wood industry with its lines of TopSolid solutions. The TopSolid software line is a proprietary Missler Software product. It is based on an advanced core design (CAD), with integrated PDM (Production Data Management), developed with Windows in C# language. This line of modern technologies has been entirely renewed tha past 10 years. Industry applications have been developed based on this: TopSolid'Cam for numeric control machine-tool programming.
TopSolid'Mold for mold manufacturer applications, TopSolid'Wood for the wood industry (interior finishings), and TopSolid'ERP for production management.
Thanks to its advanced technology, Missler Software is recognized on the global CAD/CAM market. Today, more than 12 000 companies use TopSolid worldwide.
Missler Software has partners in Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa and North and South America. More than 500 employees (Missler Software and distributor employees) develop and sell TopSolid daily around the world.
CIRTES, created in 1991 and located in the heart of the industrial landscape of Saint-Dié-Des-Vosges in the greater Eastern France Region, is an accredited "Contracted Research entity" (SRC), a pioneer and a leader in Additive Manufacturing and Fast Product Development. CIRTES also has a location at Carmaux, in Southwestern France. With its patented specialties, Additive Manufacturing by Stratoconception®, Pack&Strat® 3D fast packaging, and Actarus® machining monitoring, CIRTES is dedicated to executing industrial R&D contracts, developing software solutions, manufacturing models and tools, and marketing its own software solutions and related machines. Originally, the patented original concept of Stratoconception® Additive Manufacturing was initiated by the founder, Clauder Barlier, in the mid-1980's. Stratoconception® is the Additive Manufacturing process that allows layer-by-layer 3D manufacturing of an object designed by CAD, after virtual slicing, without disrupting the digital chain. 600 solutions are installed worldwide. The process was behind the creation of CIRTES, and later the entire VirtuReal Cluster. Today, the cluster hosts more than 200 people on an 8 000m² hub entirely dedicated to digital technologies and Additive Manufacturing.