Additive manufacturing for series production

Posted on 19 Aug 2019 and read 663 times
Additive manufacturing for series productionThe German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has launched an initiative “to halve the costs and double the speed of additive manufacturing to enable the cost-effective mass production of complex metal parts”.

ModuleWorks (— a leading provider of software components for the CAD/CAM industry — is part of the14-strong consortium of industry experts and research institutions working on the initiative.

Called IDEA (Industrialisation of Digital Engineering and Additive Manufacturing), its aim is to make powder-bed laser beam melting suitable for series production.

This process is used to manufacture advanced metal components such as turbine blades, transmissions and engine parts.

The complete process chain includes creating computer models and powder selection, the printing process, quality
control, heat treatment and post-processing; and while the individual steps in this process chain are often isolated, time-consuming, non-value-adding and require manual intervention by experts, the partners in the IDEA project say they aim to change this.

“The biggest potential for improvement lies in a more intelligent coupling of hardware and software. Digital twins of the products, the manufacturing process and the entire production line would eliminate the trial-and-error production characterised by manual interventions; and when combined with the use of standardised data formats, process simulation, a modern production control system and the consistent recording of production data, these new developments are expected to make the entire production process 50% more efficient.”

Marc Stautner, director of research at ModuleWorks, said: “Laser-aided manufacturing is the future of production and has massive potential.

“The IDEA project is a fantastic initiative and exactly what the industry needs to develop this technology to the full.

“We’re excited to be part of this project and look forward to seeing the first results.”

ModuleWorks has already developed commercially available software components for laser-aided manufacturing and
is integrating them into the new IDEA production chain.

The company says its components provide an advanced programming environment and a set of dedicated features for powder-bed laser beam melting, as well as geometric simulation of the laser additive process.

After the development and implementation phase of IDEA, validation is planned for the second half of the project.

A ‘blue print’ of a large-scale industrial production line will be created at the Siemens gas turbine plant in Berlin, while a blueprint of a production line for small and medium-size enterprises will be created at MBFZ Toolcraft GmbH in Georgensgmünd, Germany.

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