AddUp, Clermont-Ferrand, France, a joint-venture between Fives and Michelin, and ESI Group, Paris, France, have announced the forthcoming availability of Distortion Simulation AddOn. The jointly-designed module, specifically designed for metal Additive Manufacturing, will enhance the functionalities of the AddUp Manager software for the definition and production tracking of parts.
As founding members of France’s SOFIA project (Solution pour la Fabrication Industrielle Additive métallique – Industrial Metal Additive Manufacturing Solution), initiated in 2016 and sponsored by Bpifrance, AddUp and ESI Group stated that they have shared a “common vision of metal Additive Manufacturing” since their first meeting.
At a time when the industrialisation of AM is drawing closer to reality, simulation based on material physics, which ensures an in-depth understanding of material processes and behaviour, is one of the key components to improving the competitiveness of the AM process.
The optimisation of process parameters is a crucial stage in the AM process; manufacturers, according to their specific applications, must be able to focus available machine times either on production or on process optimisation.
Traditionally, production validation has primarily meant producing parts, then assessing their conformity. According to the partner companies, introducing a simulation tool all too often limited expert users and required multiple feedback loops between different functions, creating discontinuity over the digital chain.
By integrating simulation directly in the preparatory stages of the AM process, Distortion Simulation AddOn is said to bring continuity to the technology. The AddUp Manager user interface is said to be both intuitive and stable, offering a good working environment for defining simulation parameters, particularly for staff who are not experts in this field.
Vincent Ferreiro, CEO, AddUp, stated, “With this simulation technology, we can help our customers improve their operational efficiencies and responsiveness by significantly increasing the number of first time right parts. Thanks to its accessibility, the Distortion Simulation AddOn will appeal to a wide range of users, requiring only a very short learning curve. This tool will help them maximise the potential of our FormUp machines.”
Using their combined expertise, AddUp and ESI Group stated that they have been able to generate a simulation tool that takes all production parameters into consideration. The process is based on a succession of simple, guided steps, and the level of detail is configurable according to customers’ needs: from optimising industrial production to verifying small series of components.
The simulation results allow the physical characteristics of parts, displacements, strains and residual stresses to be correlated with the feasibility criteria calculated upstream of production. This allows the risk of production downtimes due to collisions of the roller or scraper to be anticipated. At the end of the process, a modified geometry is generated. Based on predicted deformations due to the process and exportable to STL format, this helps ensure geometrically compliant production.
Vincent Chaillou, COO, ESI Group, commented, “The complementary nature of our teams and our fields of expertise, backed up by our collaboration in the SOFIA project, has enabled us to develop an industrial solution that delivers performance, predictability and competitiveness while continuing to implement innovative production methods such as Additive Manufacturing.”