Additive Manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing is an emerging manufacturing technology. AM technology allows for the direct transformation of digital data into a physical product. At first sight the Additive Manufacturing process chain may look very short and simple: Computer Aided Design (CAD) software is used for describing a physical object. The digital data is transferred to a special 3D printer which directly produces the part.
But what sounds lapidary causes many challenges …
There are various printing technologies available. What they have in common is that they all build 3D objects by adding material either layer-wise or by deposition along a path. The diverse printing processes are based on different materials (sand, solid or liquid plastics, numerous metals) and different methods for building the layers (e.g. lasers or electron beam for melting / fusing / sintering of metal powder).
The fields of application for Additive Manufacturing are manifold – here we focus on industrial usage of Metal Additive Manufacturing (Metal AM).
Metals are the fastest-growing segment of 3D printing. Metal AM is increasingly being used to fabricate end-use products for
Aerospace & Defense companies are the No. 1 Early Adopters for AM technologies – they are the first ones to move ahead from small research projects to large scale production runs. Airbus, GE, Norsk Titanium, Alcoa, and others have already started with series production or are investing in large manufacturing facilities for AM.
The Automotive industry is employing 3D printing since years for Rapid Prototyping focused on preproduction single test parts or complete visualization models. Leading automotive manufacturers are experimenting with utilizing AM technology. First fields of application may be small series or individualized production.
Companies employing metal 3D printers for additive manufacturing have to face many challenges.
There are various influencing factors on the additive manufacturing process with different significance, such as
A very high number of machine input parameters (up to 200) is involved in AM processes, all having an impact on the achieved behavior of the final parts. Prior to producing the parts you have to answer questions like
Complex physical interactions cause an inconsistent quality of the produced parts.
Non-optimal part design for manufacturing leads to
Simufact Additive is a powerful and scalable software solution for the simulation of metal-based additive manufacturing processes.
Simufact Additive helps you produce AM parts first-time-right:
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