GeonX, headquartered in Gosselies, Belgium, has announced the first official release of its Virfac® Additive Manufacturing (Virfac® AM) software, adding new functionalities to GeonX’s Virtual Factory that is already able to simulate manufacturing processes including welding, machining and thermal treatments.
Virfac® is the result of GeonX’s expertise in Finite Element modelling of manufacturing processes and operations, enabling the user to take into account the entire fabrication chain of a workpiece within a single user interface. A typical Additive Manufacturing production workflow involves multiple operations. It is first manufactured with supports that ensure the proper build shape. Next, the support structures are removed and the surface is cleaned with machining operations. Finally, its mechanical characteristics are enhanced by heat treatment processes.
All of these steps can be easily set-up and simulated within Virfac®, delivering the stresses and deformations as could be obtained in a factory-produced part. It is claimed that the system can also predict the in-service fatigue of a product and predict the way an eventual crack will propagate, taking into account all of its manufacturing history.
Virfac® AM allows engineers and designers to simulate and predict deformations and stresses of parts before manufacturing them. Users can study the effects of typical Additive Manufacturing process parameters such as the build-up orientation and supports (geometry and density) in addition to the laser specifications, as well as optimise these parameters to achieve the desired product.
It was stated that systematic use of process simulation with Virfac® drastically reduces the number of prototypes to be built in the development phase, while improving the quality and lifetime of the manufactured products. This directly minimises the time to market and development costs, providing Virfac® users with a key competitive advantage.