Home » E-Xstream Engineering Examines Production Costs of Composite 3D Printing
E-Xstream Engineering Examines Production Costs of Composite 3D Printing
February 9, 2021
Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence's e-Xstream engineering division has introduced new simulation and virtual manufacturing capabilities that enable users to analyze the production cost of polymer-based additive manufacturing parts against conventional processes, and continuously improve their virtual engineering processes by validating the composite’s microstructure with CT scans of manufactured parts.
Additive manufacturing with composites is gaining traction in the market because of its ability to automate the creation of stronger and lighter components than metal processes and engineer the performance (eg. with continuous fibre reinforced polymer) of the underlying material to purpose. The latest Digimat software enables businesses to simulate the 3D printing process and calculate the total cost of producing each part including the material utilization, employee time, energy, and the required post-processing steps.
Using this new tool, an engineer can take a holistic view of part production and finishing processes to determine the best process chain for production. Crucially, it can also be used to perform batch optimizations to print as many parts as possible in parallel, increasing production capacity and reducing lead time. It can also be used in production planning, to consider the total cost of ownership of machines and amortize those costs over the projected production volumes. This information is visualized for the user through plots and pie charts, so the cost breakdown can be easily analyzed for different scenarios.
Global demand for composite 3D printing is predicted to grow to $1.7 billion by 2030, but applications have been limited to date due technical challenges. Because the fiber orientation changes throughout different areas of the part, this has a significant effect on the mechanical performance. Knowing this information can help engineers troubleshoot quality issues and greatly improves the accuracy of performance predictions. Manufacturers can now CT Scan a part and import the 3D RAW image to build a finite element model of its two-phase microstructure (eg. carbon fiber reinforced polymer) in Digimat and model its behavior. By embedding this validated material model in their Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) tools, a design engineer can analyze that account for variations within a manufactured part to reduce material use or avoid points of failure. Learn more at the link below: