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Additive Manufacturing is changing the landscape for production and design

Additive manufacturing has invaded all aspects of manufacturing, and how

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Additive manufacturing, Appanna Nanaiah, Intech DMLS, Objify technologies, Aprit Sahu, Manufacturing, Design

The growth of several industries including as automotive, FMCG, semiconductor, manufacturing, aerospace, food & beverages, and healthcare serves as a stimulant for the growth of additives manufacturing market. When an entire manufacturing process - from design to delivery - takes 90% lesser time and consumes 80% lesser energy, it's a huge departure from convention. Add to this the advantages of environment-friendly processes and the savings on sustainable operations, and you have a true revolution. The world of additive manufacturing (AM) is transforming industrial processes and ushering in a new future for factories.

Nanaiah Appanna, GM, Intech DMLS, says, “AM caters to a large segment of aerospace, healthcare, military, construction and even fashion industry, depending on the application and material needed. The freedom to design and manufacture complex geometries at a rapid scale has allowed this technology to seep into such a vast range of applications.”

The forward-looking technologies and innovations involved in AM are opening up new pathways for economic, technical and logistical advantages in the manufacturing domain. Industry leaders are at the forefront of this revolution, providing hardware and software solutions to OEMs of AM machines and integrating AM technologies into mainstream manufacturing for themselves at the same time.

Additive Manufacturing of polymers is transitioning from rapid prototyping to a industrial production technique. While it brings valuable opportunities to the industry it also comes with a series of challenges for the engineers: the reliability of the mechanical properties of the final part still has some uncertainty and is not fully supported by standard engineering tools. To support this transition, the engineering workflow, which is daily applied for traditional manufacturing processes, needs to be reviewed and adapted to facilitate the introduction of new technologies. A holistic simulation approach for AM of plastics and composites is proposed: it allows to use multiscale material modeling techniques, essential to handle the several scales involved in AM, to predict important effects of the printing process such as warpage, shrinkage and residual stresses. These output can be easily used to simulate the effective mechanical performance of the as-printed part as a function of the material and other important printing process parameters such as toolpath.

Going global
Though it's early days yet, AM is projected to touch a market of $20 billion by 2020, and McKinsey predicts that the impact of the AM industry could accelerate to a potential $250 billion by 2025. You can imagine the growth curve. The Indian 3D printing market alone is expected to be worth $79 million (approx. Rs 585 crore) by 2021.

Consider the developments in the AM space recently. Last month, Henkel acquired Molecule Corp., a privately owned, technology-driven enterprise focused on product innovation in additive manufacturing. Molecule Corp. provides advanced solutions for 3D printing applications – including medical device, aerospace, automotive and a wide variety of consumer goods – as well as industrial inkjet materials, impacting a wide variety of markets. “Molecule Corp. and Henkel are an excellent fit”, says Philipp Loosen, head of 3D printing at Henkel. “Molecule’s strong 3D printing and inkjet resin technologies and digital development capabilities perfectly complement and strengthen our materials portfolio and build on our approach to offer a comprehensive range of customised additive manufacturing solutions.”

The acquisition is in line with Henkel’s strategy to strengthen its portfolio through targeted acquisitions. It is complementing and strengthening Henkel’s technology portfolio for durable & functional parts in additive manufacturing (3D printing). It also enhances Henkel’s capacities to invent and develop new material or material components and grants access to industrial inkjet applications.


Arpit Sahu.

Similarly, HP and Siemens expanded their strategic alliance to help customers transform their businesses with industrial AM. Siemens and HP will expand their integrated AM solution, incorporating new systems and software innovations including overall product lifecycle management (PLM), AM factory optimisation, industrial 3D printing and data intelligence, manufacturing execution, and performance analytics. The integration of HP’s new Jet Fusion 5200 Series 3D printing solution with Siemens’ Digital Enterprise offerings enables industrial companies to bring 3D printed parts to market faster, more cost-effectively, more sustainably, and at higher volumes than ever before.

In another move, HP India signed an MoU with Andhra Pradesh Innovation Society (APIS) and Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) to build a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for AM powered by HP’s 3D printing technology. The CoE is part of the state government’s vision to accelerate adoption of 3D printing in various industry sectors such as automotive, aerospace, defence, consumer goods, healthcare, apparel and construction. It will be equipped with HP’s cutting-edge 3D printers that can handle short run production and functional prototyping.

One of India’s AM solution provider, Objectify Technologies, showcased its capabilities at the Rapid+TCT show. “US has always been the most exciting country with lots of movement in the additive manufacturing domain,” says Arpit Sahu, co-founder & director, Objectify Technologies. The company recently signed an agreement with MSC Software to use its 'Simufact Additive' for AM simulation and MSC One suite of products. Simufact Additive is a leading AM product line from MSC Software and provides manufacturing process simulation for the metalworking industry.
Objectify Technologies is the first company in India to provide metal and polymer solutions under one roof with a large number of in-house equipment and engineering expertise which aid in generating the best outcome for its customers.

Catching up
Sandvik Additive Manufacturing has created a 3D printed diamond composite. While this diamond does not sparkle, it is perfect for a wide range of industrial uses. The new process means that this super-hard material can now be 3D printed in highly complex shapes and can thereby revolutionise the way industry uses the hardest natural material on the planet. Diamond is harder than anything else in nature. It is a key component in a large range of wear resistant tools in industry, from mining and drilling to machining and also medical implants. Since 1953 it has been possible to produce synthetic diamond, but since it’s so hard and complicated to machine, it is almost impossible to form complex shapes. The difference between Sandvik’s diamond and natural or synthetic diamond is that Sandvik’s is a composite material. Most of the material is diamond, but to make it printable and dense it needs to be cemented in a very hard matrix material, keeping the most important physical properties of pure diamond.

Nanaiah Appanna.

The step after the 3D-printing is however even more demanding. This is where Sandvik has developed a tailor-made, proprietary post processing method making it possible to achieve the exact properties of the super-hard diamond composite. The diamond composite has been tested and found to have extremely high hardness, exceptional heat conductivity, while also possessing low density, very good thermal expansion and fantastic corrosion resistance.
In terms of trends, Appanna says, “The global 3D printing metals market size is expected to reach $3.05 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 31.8% during the forecast period. It is also observed that there is an increase in the adoption of 3D printing as a mainstream manufacturing method and also a rise in investments in R & D of 3D metal printing. This is said to have fuelled the product demand.”

AM technology ventured in the industry as a rapid-prototyping technology predominantly for aerospace technology, then evolved into a customisation technology, and now it is being adopted for serial manufacturing. As AM industry moves towards production, the challenges are less about technology and more about economics. Here the goal moves from experimenting with reducing costs and with increasing efficiency. “There is increased development in software to facilitate fast adoption and growth. INTECH has launched AMOptoMet, parameter optimisation software along in partnership with DMG MORI. It enables one to achieve desired properties in the very first iteration itself. With a built AI, AMOptoMet automatically calculates the optimal process parameters which simplify programming and results in an improved surface quality as well as reproducible material properties,” says Appanna.

IINTECH has the following solutions:
• Design for Additive Manufacturing
• Software Solutions:
 AMOptoMet is a predictive software which enhances the capabilities of powder-bed metal manufacturers. It provides a high degree of accuracy assisting prediction of parameters for powder bed systems. It eliminates months and years of experimenting and understanding of AM build technology
 AMBuilder is an integrated Cloud-based software for the build process. On uploading just, the STL files into the AMBuilder, it automatically carries out all other remaining steps including data correction, orientation, support generation, running simulations for distortion and gives you a file ready for printing
• Additive Consulting
• Metal 3D printing services cater to aerospace, automotive, healthcare, space, tool & die, energy and defence sector
• Hardware Solutions
• Right material selection with development and validation.
• Post-Processing and Heat Treatment.

AM is transforming industrial processes and ushering in the factory of the future. Going forward, standardising AM processes will be a crucial driver for mainstreaming the technology, especially as the industry continues to mature. It will aid in post-processing and make it more automated using smart solutions. Currently, the majority of post-processing operations requires a heavily manual process and skilled operators. If AM is to move towards mass production successfully, there is a pressing need to automate post-processing processes.

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