EDAG, voestalpine, and Simufact present the potential of 3D printing for automotive production in their joint innovation project.
„We are delighted to receive this award which gives us additional tailwind for our software solution Simufact Additive”, says Dr. Patrick Mehmert, Product manager Simufact Additive.
The project aims to demonstrate the practical application and the potential of additive manufacturing technologies in automotive production.
By the example of a conventional functional component (here: hood hinge), the project team used the extended possibilities of additive production (keyword bionic design) in order to rethink the component, to re-construct it and subsequently to manufacture it additively.
AICON 3D Systems GmbH from Braunschweig, Germany, took over the measurement of the additively manufactured parts. AICON is a part of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.
The EDAG engineers have re-designed the hinge system based on the results of a topology optimization in order to achieve the desired weight reduction while maintaining the given stiffness and strength. By this it was possible to determine the minimal material needed and achieve a weight benefit of 50% compared to the reference parts.
The subsequent optimization of the support structures needed for the production and the final printing of the lower and upper hinge part have been performed by the voestalpine Additive Manufacturing Center in Düsseldorf.
An important step in the design and manufacture of additive components is the simulation of the actual printing process in a 3D printer. Here, Simufact came into its own with its specially developed software solution Simufact Additive.
With Simufact Additive, the actual printing process and the subsequent process steps such as the removal of the support structures can be simulated and thus distortions and residual stresses can be predicted.
In order to prove that the compensation method achieved the desired results, the non-distortion-compensated parts as well as the parts compensated on the basis of the simulation results were printed.
A 3-dimensional optical measurement by AICON 3D Systems was able to demonstrate the dimensional accuracy of the distortion-compensated parts.
The optical comparative measurements of the non-distortion-optimized original and the distortion-optimized part - here the example of the hinge lower part - clearly show the improvements: The distortion compensation is an effective procedure for the production of dimensionally accurate 3D parts.
The deviations to the target geometry can be further minimized via further iteration steps in the simulation. Expensive and time-intensive production tests can be avoided.
Re-construction of a conventional hinge hood aiming at substantial weight reduction, fewer component arts, less assembly steps, and integrated pedestrian protection functionality - to be manufactured using metal additive manufacturing methods.
In order to reduce the number of try-out steps, Simufact simulated the distortions in the AM parts. By distortion compensation countermeasures the parts were produced in shorter time meeting quality goals.
"The LightHinge+ hood hinge fully exploits the potential of additive manufacturing by means of efficient software-assisted engineering. An ultimate weight reduction and integration of a pedestrian protection function, in distortion and self-tension optimized tool-less production with little rework for small series is achieved."
Dr. Martin Hillebrecht, Head of Competence Center Lightweight Construction, Materials and Technologies, EDAG Engineering GmbH
"The geometries of the components resulting from the optimization of the topology require a high proportion of support structures. In the project, we have been able to reduce these to a minimum."
Dr. Eric Klemp, Managing Director voestalpine Additive Manufacturing Center
The LightHinge+ project provides an innovative and practical case employing additive manufacturing in automotive production.
"The simulation of the build process has contributed significantly to the improved design, validation and distortion optimization of the additively manufactured LightHinge+. In this way we were able to avoid expensive and time-intensive manufacturing tests. "
Dr. Patrick Mehmert, Product Manager Additive Manufacturing, simufact engineering gmbh
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