Simufact Engineering GmbH, Hamburg, Germany, part of the Manufacturing Intelligence division of Sweden’s Hexagon AB, has introduced its metal Binder Jetting (BJT) module for its Simufact Additive simulation software, which enables manufacturers to predict and prevent the distortion that sintering processes can have on parts during design.
The company states that its new simulation tool marks a significant step forward for Additive Manufacturing because it helps manufacturers achieve the high quality they require while exploiting the unique benefits BJT offers for volume production.
Simufact explains that one key challenge in metal Binder Jetting has been predicting changes during the sintering process. A part can shrink as much as 35% during sintering, and the simple shrinkage models used for other processes cannot predict this distortion for AM. Until now, costly physical trials were required to perfect the Additive Manufacturing of each part, preventing many manufacturers realising the low cost and flexibility BJT offers, note the company.
The new simulation tool, which was made available to existing Simufact Additive customers in August 2020, extends its capabilities for BJT processes. Manufacturers can predict the shrinkage caused by factors such as the thermal strain, friction, and gravity during sintering without specialist simulation knowledge.
By compensating for these changes, parts can be additively manufactured as they are designed, and production teams can significantly reduce the proportion of parts that must be scrapped or re-processed.
Sintering-induced mechanical stress is also predicted before the build, indicating where defects might occur. Manufacturers can use this information to make changes earlier in their product development and reduce the need for costly redesign.
Designed for busy manufacturing professionals, the simulation tool can automate the model setup, preparing the CAD or CAE file for manufacturing simulation and simulations can also be automated through Python scripts. To validate the sintering compensation and increase confidence in quality, the optimised geometry from the tool can be immediately compared to both the initial design (CAD) geometry and a metrology scan of a manufactured part within the user interface, explains Simufact.
“We are pleased to introduce the first solution for simulating metal Binder Jetting sintering process to the market so that manufacturers can take advantage of this important new method,” commented Dr Gabriel McBain, Senior Director Product Management, Simufact & FTI.
“We know customers see metal Binder Jetting as a pivotal technology for manufacturing, particularly where there’s a need to produce intricate parts at high volumes like the automotive industry.”
Dr McBain added, “This development was only possible through close collaboration between our manufacturing and printer equipment partners and our highly experienced research & development department.”