The valley of death--where concepts can die--lies across TRL 4 to 6, and is where a research organisation such as TWI comes in and where projects like OAAM are crucial.
The OAAM project moves away from the more traditional powder-bed techniques of AM and explores melting wires using lasers and electron beams or blowing powder into moving heat sources.
Airbus, meanwhile, hopes to use the OAAM project to help it push through what it calls "class l/principal structure element" parts on a scale of a metre-plus.
On the software side, the OAAM project has attracted the likes of Autodesk, which believes the power of the collaboration is that it "can't hide behind academic discussions, presumptions and laboratory-based solutions".
Jan Willem Gunnink, manager of collaborative innovation at Autodesk, says: "OAAM will deliver solutions that can, will and should be used by the high-end and advanced manufacturing industry.
This approach, of exploration and experimentation, is at the heart of the OAAM project, which was unveiled recently but began quietly at the start of the year.
Although already capable of prints up to 10m, Cranfield University will focus its OAAM research on printing parts measuring about 2m.
David Steer, airframe technology engineer at Airbus, explains key challenges faced by those researching additive manufacturing, and how OAAM hopes to help