Day four of FORMNEXT 2016, the catch-up of Additive Manufacturing & 3D-printing industry
SIEMENS announced a ‘build processor’ for laser based powder bed fusion systems and a bit more.
Shown at FORMNEXT was only a demonstrator software but SIEMENS will launch a plug-in for the NX™ PLM-software. The plug-in will be an end-to-end solution, eliminating the need for data handover/conversion to create machine-data.
SIMENS partnered up with MATERIALISE using Magics in the background, allowing the entire build preparation. This means a seamless process from the first sketch to the machine data. The data generated will be an all-in-one format, containing the entire design process (including optimization) support structure generation and layer/scan information. A 2D nesting software will be onboard and later also 3D-nesting. Further, there will be no data handover to use Optimization and FEA packages as such are already optional in NX™.
The first reactions were very positive as the STL. is still the quasi-standard which simply nobody likes but has to deal with.
SIEMENS also partnered up with TRUMPF, offering the capabilities of the MATERIALISE Build Processor in TRUMPFs TruTops Print with NX software. TRUMPF was the first company to offer access to their machines and has collaborated with SIEMENS on the development. Read SIEMENS press releases here.
Further SIEMENS announced a partnership with STRATASYS.
AUTODESK has invested heavily in AM over the last years.
Alexander Oster (Director for Additive Manufacturing at AUTODESK) explained in his presentation on the TCT-Stage how AUTODESK has strategically invested in additive manufacturing since 2008. The acquisition of NETFAB and WITHIN TECHNOLOGIES, two key players in AM software, but also the earlier acquisitions like Moldflow fit nicely into the portfolio. More recently Autodesk invested in hardware companies like FIT TECHNOLOGY GROUP, OPTOMEC, Carbon3D and XJET to drive Additive Manufacturing.
Process Simulation software
They idea of process simulation is not new at all, looking at injection molding or laser welding industry which have been using simulation for years and years.
But more and more vendors are taking on this technology to improve geometric accuracy of additively manufactured metal parts. High-temperature gradients in the laser based powder bed fusion process (SLM / DMLS) are leading to residual stress. Temperature gradients over the build height are leading to further deformations of the parts. After a heat treatment for stress-relief, the parts simply deform. Simulating this distortion enables to digitally invert the deformation on the nominal models. So the parts are built on purpose deformed, allowing them to bend back into the shape of the nominal model during the annealing. Further, build-up orientation of parts can be optimised.
Looking at components which can take up to hundreds of hours to be built and parts which have to be first-time-right, this software solutions can mitigate risks and ensure higher part quality. It will be interesting to see when these tools will fit seamlessly into the data preparation process.
“Software is key”
Watch this interview with Sean Keith, Machine Technology Integration Leader at GE Additive was recorded at FORMNEXT. Sean is pointing out how important the software is for the future of Additive Manufacturing.
Interview link: youtu.be/ecnbb2XUwbM