While it is undeniable that metal additive manufacturing use is growing rapidly throughout the world, it is also clear that metal-based AM technologies are still extremely complex to use. And any error can be paid for dearly in terms of lost time, materials and energy. 3DSIM is developing a software to optimize metal 3D printing and Netherlands-based Additive Industries will be the first AM original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to take advantage of it.
Metal powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (AM) processes rely heavily on the empirical testing of coupons to ensure reliability and quality, which is time consuming and costly. Thus, simulation tools that are based on the actual geometry, process parameters, machine-specific behavior, and material properties are required to enable process optimization.
Louisville-based 3DSIM is going make the advanced simulation software solutions it is developing available to Additive Industries, industrial 3D printing service bureau and AM reseller, while also developing next generation 3D printing equipment. This partnership will allow the Dutch company to improve both reproducibility and productivity of its additive manufacturing systems.
“Brent Stucker and his team at 3DSIM support us in truly understanding the relationship between the large variety of parameters in the additive manufacturing process. By integrating their toolkit into our workflow, the users of our systems can predict the quality of the products 3D printed and increase the yield,” said Daan Kersten, CEO of Additive Industries.
The partnership will also benefit 3DSIM’s development capabilities as the company will be able to test and tune its systems with early access to Additive Industries’ next generation metal AM machines.
“This offers a unique opportunity to tune the simulation model and the additive manufacturing system simultaneously,” said Brent Stucker, CEO of 3DSIM and Professor at the University of Louisville. “This not only improves the equipment and process, but also our model.”
3DSIM, if it can pull of what the company claims, could cut the time needed to simulate a 3D printing problem tremendously. Using current methods, solving a potential full-bed metal laser sintering problem would include parameters such as bed size, 10 micron resolution mesh, 10 nanosecond time increments, and 50 hours of scanning time: these many variables (10 to 8th elements per layer, 10 to the 12th total elements, and 10 to 10th time increments) would require a 16 teraflop computer and 5.7×10 to the 18th years to solve (that is 5.7 billion billion years). By the time such a problem would be completed, AM will be used to fabricate entire universes.