Frank Herzog, President & CEO of Concept Laser stated, “We are pleased to partner with RSC Engineering and Tim Richter. Our users will benefit from our partnership with a design firm that can create process-oriented component designs using LaserCUSING for complex components. RSC Engineering’s list of references and expertise will give us a strong foundation for maximizing the potential of LaserCUSING.”
As more designers and engineers realize that additive manufacturing can open up entirely new approaches to design, the demand for new techniques such as “LaserCUSING-oriented” design are growing. Ideal for bionic or lightweight construction, LaserCUSING design is an approach that produces components with optimized geometries and new possibilities in areas such as functionality or resilience.
By leaving behind the traditional approach of substituting a milled or cast component, the advantages of LaserCUSING can be maximized: optimized design, better performance and increased added value. According to Tim Richter, there are many reasons for this: “Additional functions are now possible, such as cooling, production of moving parts in a one-shot process without assemblies, or lightweight structures that can withstand heavy stresses. Hybrid manufacturing solutions (combination of conventional processes and LaserCUSING) can bring together the best of both worlds. It’s all about understanding new possibilities and using them in a targeted way. Additive design eliminates the need for substitution and produces completely new solutions.”
Rapid prototyping, rapid tooling and rapid manufacturing are RSC Engineering’s primary design activities. Reference components emphasize solutions for lightweight design and functional integration. “Lightweight constructions are often used for component structures that cannot be adequately produced using traditional processes,” says Tim Richter, “whereas functional integration improves the quality of a component.” These types of approaches employ a cadre of strategies that RSC Engineering determines according to the requirements of each component. For example, some components need to have reduced or no support geometries, some require integration of cooling channels, elasticity or increased rigidity through integrated lattice structures. Tim Richter explained, “We focus on the component’s ultimate function right at the beginning of the design process.’Virtual prototyping’ is an important concept. Going from a virtual prototype to the actual product is no longer a big process thanks to LaserCUSING. This means that we can often shorten the development process significantly.”
An exhaust gas probe developed by RSC Engineering is an excellent example of ”intelligent additive design.” The probe is used to safely determine the composition of engine exhaust gases in a test system. This is a good thing, considering that the exhaust gas heats up to 2100°C and is under a high amount of pressure. These high temperatures require that the exhaust gas probe feature cooling channels for coolant flow, as well as six additional pipes for collecting the exhaust gas. Though welding conventional exhaust gas probes is a time-consuming process, the exhaust gas probe by RSC Engineering GmbH was manufactured in one step, including all flow-optimized channels, using LaserCUSING.
“Such highly effective functions can be very compactly integrated into an intelligently designed additive component,” says Tim Richter. “But the problem was in the costs. The product costing analysis for the exhaust gas probe showed that we reduced manufacturing costs by almost 60%. This demonstrates the incredible cost-cutting potential of this technology.”
The additive design process is based on a coordinated analysis and component design by RSC Engineering. Let’s break it down:
Phase 1: Systematic evaluation of the potential of the component. What will it do? What were the advantages and disadvantages of previous solutions? Are there special objectives, such as cost reduction or lightweight construction? By answering these questions, the possible advantages of the LaserCUSING process are defined.
Phase 2: Create precise specifications. This involves “drafting binding functional requirements, determining the timeframe and defining batch sizes.”
Phase 3: The actual design process.
Tim Richter says it best. “The key words here are design or redesign and simulation.”
This involves evaluating and comparing alternative geometries as part of a virtual prototyping process. Physical functions then go through the various levels of simulation using DMU (digital mock-up), FEM (mechanical/thermal simulation) and CFD (thermal simulation). The final conclusions are also examined with respect to the consequences for manufacturing. In the last stage, implementation in the production environment is analyzed as a Quality Assurance measure.