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Fictron Industrial Supplies Sdn Bhd
Fictron Industrial Supplies Sdn Bhd

Continuous Process Chain for Additive Manufacturing

18-Apr-2019

Stuttgart, April 17, 2019 - The European 'Bionic Aircraft' research project has achieved yet another milestone for additive manufacturing: For the first time ever, components can be printed directly from the CATIA V5 CAD system. This is made possible with the interface developed by CENIT. With it, there is no motivation to leave the development environment. All process steps, including post-processing, can be mapped in CATIA V5. Now, perfect data is available in CATIA V5 for removing the support structures during 3D part post-processing - elaborate reconstructions of the model and the support structures are a thing of the past.
 
Future users will be able to lower their time and costs resulting from the closed process chain for additive manufacturing, because now the improvement process for a part until series maturity has become considerably leaner. Jochen Michael, Senior Consultant at CENIT, provides background information: 'Support structures of additive manufactured components should not be eliminated manually in series production, but in exchange with NC machines. When creating NC programs of this category, the STL format, which in the past was used mainly for the representation of component and support structures in the 3D print data chain, is inadequate, because it can only serve the geometry imprecisely. In that case, the model and support structures must be reconstructed for refinishing, resulting in unnecessary expense. We can block this with the 3D print from CATIA V5 instantly, because the exact geometry data for this post-processing is already available.'
 
In order for the 3D print to be effective via CATIA V5, CENIT provides support to the engineer in the preparation of data from topology optimization. During topology optimization, in a computer-aided process, the material for the component is decreased to the amount that is definitely required to meet the requirements. The CATIA V5 Slicer, newly developed by CENIT, then slices the component into layers. The contours of these slices are sent promptly to the 3D printer via the post-processor developed by CENIT.
 
New support structures from Fraunhofer IAPT
Another positive interim result of the Bionic Aircraft project: The Fraunhofer Institute for Additive Production Technologies IAPT, has evolved optimized support structures. Support structures provide the wanted support to additive manufactured components at specified areas, for example at overhangs, and must be removed after the 3D print. 'Thanks to an optimized geometry, the new support structures do not need as much powder. We were inspired by nature, which is identified for its material efficiency. The hierarchically branched structures with gradients that were introduced as a result reduce powder consumption by 70 to 90 percent as reviewed to conventional support structures. This enables us to save material and reduce production costs at the same time', says Melanie Gralow of Fraunhofer IAPT. 'An additional benefit is that they can be removed easier than conventional support structures. This makes post-processing faster, reducing the risk of harm to the component when they are removed.' The optimized structures are set up in CATIA V5 directly.
 
Bionic Aircraft: Less Emissions in Aviation
Since 2016, the objective of the 'Bionic Aircraft' research project financed by the European Commission (grant number 690689) has been to lower emissions in the aviation industry. Ten international consortium partners from industry, research and development, among them also the IT specialist CENIT and Fraunhofer IAPT, are collaborating to come up with new practices and concepts. In this project, 3D print and bionic design play an imperative role in efforts to reduce the weight of aircraft components, thus reducing fuel consumption.



This article is originally posted on Tronserve.com
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