Additive manufacturing processes open new degrees of freedom with respect to product design in terms of shaping and application-specific optimized material properties.
Thanks to product customization and product digitization, they offer great potential to revolutionize the manufacturing landscape. However, certain factors, such as increased unit costs and relatively long production times inhibit the spread of additive manufacturing processes in the production landscape.
For large industrial components, the laser deposition welding method offers a maximum performance and due to three degrees of freedom a maximum freedom of design. As part of the IMProVe project, Simufact is committed, in collaboration with research and industry partners, to overcoming existing process limitations and preparing the deposition method for a wider range of applications.
While the great freedom of design reflects the potential of additive manufacturing, the resulting parameter space represents its particular challenge. Successful process management requires special pre-processing, accurate calibration and a good understanding of the process. The complete CAD geometry is broken down into individual trajectories using suitable software and formatted as input for the welding robot. Typically, it is necessary to manufacture several prototypes until a suitable processing window is successfully defined.
By the help of process simulation, the virtual try-out represents an attractive alternative to the prototype production. For small components, the deposition process can already be modeled in Simufact Welding. However, the multitude and complexity of the welding tracks of large industrial components make new requirements on the simulation. Therefore, Simufact is focusing on further development of the welding structure analysis.
Long welding paths and thin layer thicknesses are big challenges for the meshing and lead to fine meshes and a long simulation time. Consequently, Simufact is working on new approaches for the model reduction on the solver side in order to achieve appropriate calculation times even for large-volume components.
In order to model complex components user-friendly and close to the real component, the design of a new module for the graphical user interface (GUI) is planned. For example, it is intended to add a direct interface between simulation and path planning allowing to feed process information directly into the welding model. Simulation results such as the residual stress distribution can then be used directly as a target for process optimization. Simulation-based distortion compensation could soon become an essential part of the process planning of the laser deposition method.