Simufact Additive has been selected by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to help with the application of selective laser melting (SLM) 3D printing processes. A simulation software, Simufact will enable CERN researchers to predict the outcomes of SLM, ensuring more efficient usage for high-value components.
3D printing at CERN
For sometime now, CERN has been applying 3D printing to the development of new materials and components. A proprietary SLA 3D printer has been making replacement parts for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) since around 2014, and the organization has since graduated to investigation of metal 3D printing processes.
Parts for High Energy Physics, e.g. superconducting magnets and Radio-Frequency (RF) components, is one of CERN’s current areas of additive interest.
Simufact Additive is a digital tool for optimization of laser powder bed fusion (PBF) processes. Now on the market for 15 months, the platform is used by more than 60 customers including German precision part manufacturer Toolcraft, and is integrated with Materialise Magics software.
For CERN, the value of Simufact simulation is clear. Romain Gérard, CERN AM engineer, explains “Predicting deformation is key to achieve first-time-right accurate parts, especially for parts made with expensive materials such as niobium developed for Superconducting RF application.”
In addition to printing, Simufact Additive simulates the results of heat treatment, support/build plate removal, and heat and pressure combined processes (HIP), essential to the finish of a metal part. Operators are also give information about part distortions and residual stresses, often a precursor to part failure.
Simulation is key
Software simulation is an invaluable tool for engineers and designers working in metal additive and, as such, there are many variants available.
Recently, GE Additive acquired simulation software developer GeonX for an undisclosed sum. HyperWorks software, developed by Altair, was used to design the Light Rider motorcycle. And we recently observed a number of simulation developments at the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre.
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Featured image shows a sample component simulated in Simufact Additive. Image via Simufact Additive