Trends in Additive Manufacturing for end-use production with Dassault Systèmes

3D Printing Industry is taking an in depth look at how additive manufacturing is moving to production. Over the coming weeks the results of interviews with industry leading practitioners will be published.

This article is part of a series examining Trends in Additive Manufacturing for End-Use Production.

Subham Sett is Director of Additive Manufacturing and Materials SIMULIA, Dassault Systèmes.

3DPI: What is your percentage estimate of how much Dassault Systèmes software is used with 3D printers for production versus other applications?

Subham Sett: The usage proportion of Additive Manufacturing (AM) for prototyping versus production with our applications tracks what is happening in AM usage across the industrial spectrum. With the introduction of function-driven generative design, we’ve made our topology optimization functionality available in a design environment so we expect design for end-use parts to rapidly increase. Over the next several years, applying our simulation technology to the production of end-user parts will become one of its top applications.

Dassault Systemes at Milan Design Week 2017. Photo by Michael Petch

3DPI: Do you have an estimate of the addressable market for AM in production?

SS: There are some good estimates on the addressable market for AM provided by industry analysts (refer to Terry Wohlers’ report). Industry analysts in the traditional PLM/CAE space are also putting out reports. Another barometer for addressable market can be found in GE’s investor briefings this year on GE’s addressable AM market in the next five years. Metals, currently a small percentage of the total AM market, is expected to show signification growth, fueled for the most part by the adoption of simulation technology for design and manufacture of functional parts.

3DPI: Which industries/verticals are leading in the use of AM for production?

SS: (1) Aerospace: aero-engines and airframe, tooling and (2) medical devices: implants and patient-specific implants, tooling  

3DPI: What barriers does Additive Manufacturing face for production and how are these surmountable? 

SS: Certification, quality, volume, supply chain and workforce training are among the top barriers for AM production. Since the additive processes, especially metal, are relatively new and there are many new processes coming on-line at such a rapid pace, there is a need to not only have certification but also standardization. Quality of end-use parts as well as repeatability will be important. For adoption in the automotive industry, volume production at faster speeds is a requirement – there have been recent innovations from hardware vendors and it will be worth waiting to see how they get used in regular production (Desktop Metal, Carbon, HP as examples in this sector). Finally, workforce training (either education or training existing workforce) will be needed.

3DPI: Are there any notable trends in AM for end-use production?

SS: End-use light-weighting of parts through functional generative design is a notable trend. The designs provide function, form and fit at the same time and are backed by physics based simulation methods. These tools are now inherently integrated into the design environment giving designers the freedom to design and unlock the true potential for AM. Much of this work is being driven for end-use parts.  

3DPI: Can you name any specific case studies where AM is used for end-use production?

SS: There are many case studies already in published literature including cases from Airbus on light-weighting for AM using functional generative design.  

Our focus in addition to working with commercial clients in the aerospace industry has been to work with research and government labs to bring confidence into our predictions of part distortions, residual stresses and micro-structures. Through these efforts we are looking at regular scale AM (small build volumes) as well as large-scale (big area additive) metals. The Welding Institute (TWI) is working with us to verify these against experimental parts with high-fidelity measures including CT scans. The Oakridge National Laboratory (ORNL)’s MDF facility is similarly looking at fully instrumented AM so we can predict part performance. And, SIMTECH in Singapore is studying the robustness of simulation to predict part behavior. All these studies, are designed to help engineers build confidence, and to use as fundamental to reliably making end-use parts.  

3DPI:  Is anything else you’d like to highlight in this area?

SS: One highlight worth mentioning is the fact that functional end-use parts are meant to work in the field, inside sub-assemblies and larger assemblies. These parts will be subject to in-service loads for their lifecycle. The manufacturing profile and process for AM to predict these is far more critical than conventional manufacturing techniques.  So, we in the AM community have to make parts that work, and not just parts that get off the build plate and are post-processed to meet tolerance requirements.  

This article is part of a series examining Trends in Additive Manufacturing for End-Use Production.

You can read more about SIMULIA here.

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