HI-AM Network – At the Forefront of Tangible Breakthroughs in AM Capabilities and Processes


The Holistic Innovation in Additive Manufacturing (HI-AM) Network has been formed to develop innovative solutions to address fundamental challenges with metal additive manufacturing (AM). With major investment from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Network is slated to position Canada as a leader in the additive manufacturing (AM) sector.

Each year, HI-AM Network AM experts meet to present their research findings to peers and industry representatives. This year the HI-AM Conference will be held at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 26-27 June 2019.

HI-AM 2019 Conference
The AMS NestThe University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Canada
26-27 June 2019

We caught up with Dr. Ehsan Toyserkani, HI-AM Network Director, to talk about this year’s HI-AM Conference in an exclusive AMazing® Q&A conversation.


AMazing®: Dr. Toyserkani, thank you for your participation. This must be an exciting time with HI-AM Conference next month. As we understand, the HI-AM Network is comprised of leading AM experts from seven Canadian universities that meet once a year to present their research findings to other research teams and industry representatives. How can businesses interested in capitalizing on additive manufacturing benefit from the holistic AM experiments conducted by the HI-AM Network?

Dr. Toyserkani: Thank you! It is indeed very exciting and I look forward to meeting AM enthusiasts at HI-AM 2019.

The HI-AM Network is supported by the Government of Canada. It was formed in late 2017 with the goal of providing solutions to the foremost challenges preventing the adoption of metal AM by industrial organizations. Tangible breakthroughs in AM capabilities and processes are being developed by the HI-AM researchers, including development of new materials, process optimization protocols, validated data using proper statistical techniques and a database to support new AM standards for procedures, feedstock materials and technologies. These will facilitate the AM community and standards organizations (such as ASTM) to effectively use HI-AM generated materials as well as simulation, optimization, and real-time control tools. Furthermore, new enhanced modeling and design optimization tools will help maximizing the repeatability of AM processes and decreasing their development costs and time. It is expected that know-hows, state-of-the-art facilities and competencies formed during the course of this Network will be of great importance to our industrial partners to de-risk the adoption of AM processes to their products and production lines.

These days, AM is not only being considered for prototyping and production of customized one-off items but also is getting to economics of scale without sacrificing economics of scope. HI-AM achievements will help our industrial partners to step into serial production more reliably.

AMazing®: It is generally acknowledged, the need for manufacturing processes to reproduce identical parts in large quantities remains a challenge for many additive processes. What can attendees to HI-AM 2019 Conference learn about new processes and products for monitoring and controlling additive processes?

Dr. Toyserkani: Agreed, process quality and repeatability, resulting from random and environmental disturbances, are critical impediments for serial production by AM. Quality assurance becomes extremely important when it comes to serial production.

A key solution to improve productivity and foster quality assurance is to use closed-loop control systems and algorithms to monitor the process in real-time, and to tune actuating signals accordingly. Advanced monitoring and sensing devices play an important role in the realization of effective closed-loop controls. However, implementing such devices and controllers is challenging due to the large number of physical parameters involved. Handling the large amount of collected data is another issue requiring the application of Big Data analytic tools. Development of intelligent control and machine learning algorithms for AM processes are some of the main research themes at HI-AM. We have researchers from University of Waterloo, University of Alberta, and University of British Columbia involved in this area whose research results will be presented during two dedicated sessions at HI-AM 2019. The presentations will cover less investigated areas such as control algorithms for the laser powder bed process which I’m sure will be very interesting to the participants. One of our keynote speakers from EOS (Dr. Hannes Gostner, Director, Research and Development of EOS, Germany) will also talk about some of the new EOS advancements in melt pool monitoring.

AMazing®: At this year’s conference, the four major research themes will include: Material Development, Advanced Process Modeling, Process Monitoring and Control and Innovative AM Processes and Products. With regard to these four major research themes, where is research most needed?

Dr. Toyserkani: I think the progress of R&D activities in all four areas are needed. More tailored materials, improved monitoring and control systems, faster models and design optimization techniques, and new integrated machines are all equally important and should be given similar level of attention to ensure that industry is moving effectively towards serial production by AM.

AMazing®: As AM adoption grows, businesses will need capable, skilled and available employees in design, processes, machine and technology. What conference features will be available to students, faculty members and young professionals interested in a career in additive manufacturing?

Dr. Toyserkani: I think it’s the best opportunity for students and young professionals to meet veterans of advanced and additive manufacturing from major organizations active in the field. HI-AM Network is supported by over 20 industrial partners such as Autodesk, Siemens, Renishaw, Pratt & Whitney etc. that will have representatives in the conference. Furthermore, the conference is sponsored by multiple AM companies such as EOS, TRUMPF, OPTOMEC and many more. It will be a great chance for participants to check out their booths and expand their business contacts. This year we have invited undergraduate students from outside our Network to participate in the conference, learn more about the field, and interact with AM experts as well.

AMazing®: Finally, what conference strategies and tips would you suggest to attendees to maximize their conference experience? 

Dr. Toyserkani: HI-AM conference will be a great platform to keep abreast of the latest AM and characterization techniques, brainstorm new ideas, and network with peers that could potentially lead to new industrial or academic careers. My suggestion to participants is to ensure they would attend the keynote talks and also make connections during poster presentation, breaks, and Gala. In addition, read the presentation abstracts (to be provided in the conference information package) to ensure that you do not miss any presentation that would be aligned with your interest. Except for keynotes and several invited talks, we have two parallel sessions, so it is important to plan in advance.

This concludes our interview. Dr. Toyserkani, thank you very much for your participation. We are very grateful for the opportunity to learn about this year’s HI-AM Conference.


Dr. Ehsan Toyserkani, HI-AM Network (Photo courtesy of University of Waterloo)

Dr. Ehsan Toyserkani, HI-AM Network (Photo courtesy of University of Waterloo)

About Prof. Ehsan Toyserkani by University of Waterloo
Dr. Toyserkani, who is a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo, holds the Canada Research Chair in Additive Manufacturing (AM) and has over 19 years of experience in different aspects of AM research and development, from mechatronics AM system development to AM applications in medicine and engineering. He established the first AM R&D laboratory at a Canadian university – the Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) Laboratory – which focuses on the development of the next generation of AM processes and applications. With recent investments from FedDev Ontario and Ontario’s Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science (MRIS), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and multiple private companies, MSAM is now the most comprehensive AM facility in Canada and one of the top 5 academic AM facilities in the world. His extensive experience in AM and leadership have allowed him to devote his academic life to addressing AM challenges holistically and promoting this strategic research area at the national and international level.

Dr. Toyserkani has more than 12 granted/pending patents on monitoring and real-time control of laser AM, AM technologies for embedding optical sensors within metallic structures, and AM of porous structures. He has more than 95 journal papers and more than 100 conference papers. He has actively transferred his innovative technologies to industrial organizations such as GE Aviation and Siemens.

About HI-AM Conference
The HI-AM Conference is the only academic conference in Canada focused exclusively on metal additive manufacturing. With over 100 additive manufacturing experts and decision-makers from academia, research institutes, industry and government participating, HI-AM 2019 is an event not to be missed.

This conference facilitates the dissemination of AM research results to the scientific community and among HI-AM Network members. Hosted by one of the HI-AM academic partners each year, the conference provides a great opportunity to foster cross-theme knowledge exchange and demonstrate the value, relevance, and importance of the research on-going in the HI-AM Network. http://nserc-hi-am.ca/ @NSERC_HI_AM

About NSERC Network
The NSERC Network for Holistic Innovation in Additive Manufacturing (HI-AM)has been formed to address the challenges that prevent the industry adoption of metal additive manufacturing, and to equip Canada for the era of Industry 4.0 and “digital-to-physical conversion.”

The HI-AM Network brings together nineteen leading AM experts from seven Canadian universities, and is hosted by the University of Waterloo. http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/index_eng.asp @NSERC_CRSNG

Farzad Liravi, PhD, EIT
NSERC HI-AM Network Manager
Email: [email protected]
University of Waterloo

Source: University of Waterloo/AMazing


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