Recent Additive Manufacturing Trends

Technical Report (PDF Available) · November 2014with 1,257 Reads
Affiliation: Geometric Ltd.
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Abstract
Additive Manufacturing (AM) has been there for many decades now. It has seen greater attention and wide spread awareness in the past few years due to affordable machines, innovative materials and the rise of AM service providers. Today AM has a footprint in all major industries – from aerospace and automotive to medical implants and fashion. Additive manufacturing refers to a process by which digital 3D design data is used to build up a component in layers by depositing material. Additive manufacturing (AM) techniques such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), PolyJet (3DP), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) are used to manufacture parts. AM applications for non-engineering and domestic applications include hobbyist printing, gift article printing, ceramic printing, chocolate printing, bio-printing human organs, etc. For engineering applications, AM is mainly used for prototype manufacturing, tool manufacturing and end-use part manufacturing. Use of AM technologies for engineering applications will open up many new possibilities of improving the form, functionality and economics of a product. The most significant change that industries need to address today is the adoption of Additive Manufacturing (AM) in our design and manufacturing engineering processes. Use of AM is seeing new frontiers like printing bio-inspired light weight designs for aerospace and automotive applications, carbon fibre reinforced plastic printing, smart part manufacturing by 3D electronics printing and AM, hybrid machines with metal laser sintering and milling capabilities, electron beam melting for AM, laser melting and deposition, AM pattern printing for investment casting, etc. Let us look at some dimensions of the following AM techniques.
W H I T E P A P E R
Recent Additive Manufacturing
Trends
Version 1.0
Nov, 2014
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Contents
Introduction ............................................................................................................ 4
Bio-inspired light weight designs for engineering applications .............................. 4
Carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) printing ...................................................... 4
Smart part manufacturing with 3D electronics printing and AM ........................... 5
Hybrid AM and milling machines ............................................................................ 5
Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 5
About the Author .................................................................................................... 6
About Geometric .................................................................................................... 7
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Introduction
Additive Manufacturing (AM) has been there for many decades now. It has seen greater attention
and wide spread awareness in the past few years due to affordable machines, innovative materials
and the rise of AM service providers. Today AM has a footprint in all major industries from
aerospace and automotive to medical implants and fashion. Additive manufacturing refers to a
process by which digital 3D design data is used to build up a component in layers by depositing
material. Additive manufacturing (AM) techniques such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM),
Stereolithography (SLA), PolyJet (3DP), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Direct Metal Laser Sintering
(DMLS) are used to manufacture parts. AM applications for non-engineering and domestic
applications include hobbyist printing, gift article printing, ceramic printing, chocolate printing,
bio-printing human organs, etc. For engineering applications, AM is mainly used for prototype
manufacturing, tool manufacturing and end-use part manufacturing. Use of AM technologies for
engineering applications will open up many new possibilities of improving the form, functionality
and economics of a product. The most significant change that industries need to address today is
the adoption of Additive Manufacturing (AM) in our design and manufacturing engineering
processes. Use of AM is seeing new frontiers like printing bio-inspired light weight designs for
aerospace and automotive applications, carbon fibre reinforced plastic printing, smart part
manufacturing by 3D electronics printing and AM, hybrid machines with metal laser sintering and
milling capabilities, electron beam melting for AM, laser melting and deposition, AM pattern
printing for investment casting, etc. Let us look at some dimensions of the following AM
techniques:
Bio-inspired light weight designs for engineering applications
The new lightweight parts created from AM take inspiration from human bone structure. Human
bones have internal regions with different levels of porosity covered with hard outer layers with
varying thickness. Regions where higher loads are frequently encountered have denser porosity
levels and thicker outer layers. Similar methodology is adopted for designing parts to create lighter
yet stronger parts. AM renders printing solid parts with internal honeycomb or scaffolds with few
layers of outer skin. New analysis tools claim to optimize parts automatically with varying scaffold
thickness and outer skin thickness in various regions depending on load conditions. There have
been rapid improvements in this area and we may have a suite of new bio-inspired light weight
parts in aerospace and automobile applications. Such methodologies will help designing parts to
take unique advantages of AM process rather than printing parts that are designed for
conventional manufacturing processes.
Carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) printing
Multi-material printers are capable of printing more than one material and make a composite
structure consisting of two different materials such as a part with harder core and a rubbery outer
layer. A recent advancement in multi-material printing is that a new AM machine can print CFRP
with plastic extrusion printer that can lay up continuous carbon fibers in between layers. This has
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opened up new avenues for printing much stronger materials using AM. This technology could
bring in more automation in creating different types of reinforced plastics for aerospace and
automobile applications in future. We could even envisage 3D FRP printers in future integrated
with software technologies, taking 3D model as an input and automatically creating a fiber lay-up
for a part depending on different loading conditions.
Smart part manufacturing with 3D electronics printing and AM
Smart parts, manufactured using AM, with integrated conformal 3D electronic circuits were
demonstrated by printing the part with plastic extrusion and printing electronics on the 3D part by
a leading AM technology company. Such technologies could mature in future to 3D print a
complete part with electronic circuitry in a single integrated machine having software capabilities
to facilitate integrated designing and printing of both the mechanical part and electronic circuits.
Hybrid AM and milling machines
Surface finish of additive manufactured parts has all along been an issue in successful adoption of
AM technology for hard core engineering applications. Printed metal parts often require secondary
operations. To counter this issue, leading precision machine tool companies are introducing hybrid
machines with AM and milling capabilities. One such example is a machine with metal laser
sintering unit that creates the part layer by layer and also has an integrated high speed milling
head which can machine layer by layer during the additive layer processing itself. After every layer
is created, the layer is machined to ensure smooth surface quality. This hybrid combination can be
very useful in making molds with 3D conformal cooling channels and porous sections for gas
venting which cannot be manufactured by other processes. We clearly see this technology
maturing in future with CAM software capabilities to machine only selective regions in each layer,
selective finish machining, etc.
Conclusion
AM techniques can be truly transformative for manufacturing organizations, cutting time, reducing
waste, and bringing in unmatched efficiencies to create products. Geometric is taking its first steps
in working with the ecosystem to address challenges in AM application for industrial systems and
production use.
  • Conference Paper
    Full-text available
    Conventional manufacturing technologies limit the design of lightweight sandwich cores to homogenous topologies. The paper presents two case studies on the optimization of the structural performance of existing lightweight sandwich structures utilizing the design freedom given by additive manufacturing technologies. Both studies focus on the improvement of the sandwich core. In the first study, a novel adaptive core geometry is developed in order to improve the load introduction into the panel. The second study focuses on the improvement of the damping properties of the sandwich panel, as it is necessary to reduce resonant vibration. The voids in the honeycomb core are used to insert small particles in order to damp the structure.
  • Article
    In this paper, the level of awareness of AM/RP technology in south-western Nigeria was investigated and presented. In a survey, copies of a questionnaire were administered to sixty (60) engineering personnel in research/tertiary institutions in the south-western states in Nigeria and forty (40) useful responses were obtained and analyzed. The analysis indicated that there was 40% awareness of AM/RP technology in the south-western Nigeria, whereas 60% of the respondents had not previously heard of the technologies. It was further deduced that the highest level of awareness of 50% was for inkjet/3D printing, amongst other forms of AM/RP technology in the south-western states in Nigeria. The analysis of the availability of AM equipment indicated that only 5% of the respondents specified that their institutions in south-western Nigeria possessed inkjet/3D printing AM equipment. This was at one research institute in south-western Nigeria. Though, the amount of AM/RP equipment installed is small at the moment, the level of awareness of this technology is fairly high and it is expected that the awareness level will keep increasing as concerted efforts towards procurement of AM/RP systems from abroad and by local fabrication/production is made to promote rapid product development.
  • Article
    Thinner powder layers are beneficial to three-dimensional printing (3DP) parts in many aspects, such as accuracy, surface quality and densification. However, counter-rolling (CR) layering (belonging to dry-powder layering method) and slurry-based layering, which are both conventional layering methods, either cannot achieve ultra-thin layering due to the considerable layering defects (including the cavity defect and part-shifting defect) or must involve complicated processes. Therefore, to keep the convenience of dry-powder layering and avoid the excessive layering defects, a feasibility study of the double-smoothing (DS) method for ultra-thin layering was conducted on a self-developed 3DP machine in this work. Furthermore, with optical monitoring, layering defects were first investigated experimentally. It is proved that DS layering method is capable of dispensing dry powder into intact ultra-thin (55 μm) layers: the cavity defects were well restricted, the layer-location deviations of the printed green parts were within 100 μm per 218 layers, the green densities exceeded 70%, and the uniform structures within the printed specimens were also realized. Combining a modified Mohr–Coulomb failure theory (Jenike yield theory) and the solution of in-powder stress fields induced during powder layering, a theoretical framework was established to primarily interpret the restriction of layering defects benefiting from the DS layering, whereby this theoretical framework as a reference tool for future 3DP design works was also implied.
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