The Field Lab has recently expanded its scope to include metal manufacturing and maintenance. The high-tech centre initially focused on the development and digitization of automated manufacturing processes for composite products. To support these developments, the Field Lab possesses state-of-the-art and well-equipped facilities for processing high-grade composite materials.
Composite products developed in the Field Lab are used in various industries, including the aerospace, automotive, maritime, medical and energy sectors (particularly wind energy). However, composite products are increasingly made of other materials besides just fibre-reinforced plastics. Combinations of composites and metals are also frequently used. Automation, flexibilization and digitization of the production process play an increasingly important role in the manufacturing of these metal components.
These trends prompted NLR to integrate the facilities for composite materials and metal processing, and to expand them with equipment for 3D metal printing.
The Field Lab also added maintenance services to its offerings (the third ‘M’ in the name ACM3) in order to meet the rising demand for maintenance-related test facilities.