3D Printing Simulation-based process for 3D printed metal components

Editor: Alexander Stark |

EOS and Additive Works have set themselves the goal of improving additive metal-based manufacturing processes. The focus was on the simulation-based Amphyon process preparation software.

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Projected distortion field of an instrumented stator blade made of Ti64 using the DMLS method after separation from the manufacturing platform.
Projected distortion field of an instrumented stator blade made of Ti64 using the DMLS method after separation from the manufacturing platform.
(Source: Additive Works)

With the Amphyon software the Additive Manfacturing (AM) construction process can be simulated in advance and thus helps to identify and solve possible problem areas of the component to be produced prior to the actual construction process. According to the manufacturer, the software can significantly increase dimensional accuracy, surface quality, productivity and stability of the AM process. Users can save time and money when developing components for additive manufacturing.

Dr. Nils Keller, CEO of Additive Works: "Despite the technological maturity of additive manufacturing, it can be difficult, especially for inexperienced users, to predict whether a component can be manufactured as expected. If a component causes problems, such as surface defects or severe distortion, this results in the waste of machine capacity and material. One answer to this challenge is our Amphyon software.” He continues: "In the field of conventional manufacturing processes, the use of simulation software is state-of-the-art. With Amphyon, simulation now also becomes part of the solution for additive manufacturing. This underlines the growing establishment of industrial 3D printing and the changing requirements on additive mass production".


Virtual process preparation in advance

Amphyon supports the user in predicting and addressing potential challenges of a construction job. Numerous steps of process preparation, which were previously based on experience and carried out manually, are now carried out automatically. In this way, companies can optimize their construction orders prior to the actual additive manufacturing process, minimize the risk of faulty components, and benefit from a stable and efficient construction process. To enable a clear and simple workflow, the process preparation steps are arranged according to the "ASAP" principle (Assessment — Simulation — Adaption — Process), a novel process preparation workflow for Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS).

At the assessment level, the Examiner module can be used to perform a rapid geometry analysis and to examine every possible assembly orientation of a component. Performing this process manually requires a deep understanding of the process on part of the user. On the other hand, the application itself must be taken into account in order to ideally match criteria that depend on the assembly orientation, such as the construction time, the required volume of the supports, the post-processing effort and the susceptibility to distortion. Using the Amphyon software each user can calculate the optimum assembly orientation in the installation space of the industrial 3D with just a few mouse clicks.

In a next step, the simulation will take place on the basis of two further modules: The support module currently in the beta stage and the MPS module (Mechanical Process Simulation). The support module can be used to automatically generate optimized support structures. These attach an additive component to be manufactured to the construction platform and have a significant influence on the process result. The innovative optimization algorithms of the Amphyon software adapt the support structures themselves and their connection to the component according to the calculated process forces. This not only saves the costs of manual support generation, but also unnecessary support material. In addition, process stability is significantly increased, and faulty structures caused by detached support structures can be avoided. The MPS module offers users a fast and intuitive simulation of the assembly process and the calculation of process-induced stresses and component distortions. Amphyon can eliminate these distortions by creating and compiling a "pre-deformed" STL file. Ultimately, the software enables users to ensure process stability and precise manufacturing of the manufactured part.

In order to enable a simple and at the same time precise simulation, the Ampyhon software makes essential EOS metal materials available — pre-calibrated according to their material properties. The goal is to calibrate and include all EOS metal materials in the future.

Partnership to optimize industrial 3D printing

"While the general public assumes that additive manufacturing enables the production of a three-dimensional object based on a digital design at the touch of a button, users of this technology know that reality is much more complex. Additive Works and EOS want to work together to make industrial 3D printing even more user-friendly and intuitive. Therefore, we are very pleased about the close partnership with Additive Works in the field of AM process simulation. ‘Simulate before you create' is indeed a key factor in enabling a successful AM construction process with metal materials right from the start," said Martin Steuer, Head of Product Management Software and Services at EOS.

Amphyon was developed by the start-up Additive Works founded at the end of 2015, EOS offers this software solution to its customers as part of the partnership. In addition, both companies are jointly driving the advancement of Amphyon. The goal is to integrate Amphyon's orientation, simulation and support generation capabilities in EOS' Eosprint 2 data preparation and process management software.

This article was first published byKonstruktionspraxis

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