Additive Manufacturing: A New Frontier for Simulation
Additive manufacturing — popularly known as 3D printing — is poised to revolutionize both engineering and production. With its capability to quickly turn a digital design into a physical product, additive manufacturing supports mass customization and fast response times. But high materials costs require product developers to get their designs right, the first time and every time. ANSYS Advantagediscussed how simulation can maximize results and minimize risks with two ANSYS experts.
ANSYS Advantage: What exactly is additive manufacturing? And why is the business world so excited about it?
Brent Stucker: Additive manufacturing is a technology that produces three-dimensional parts by building them up, layer by layer. It gets its name from the layers of materials that are being added — as opposed to taken away, as in some other production processes. It is popularly known as 3D printing because it involves sending a digital design to a machine that produces it very quickly.
Additive manufacturing began as a way to produce prototypes rapidly, but it is gaining broader acceptance as a final production strategy because it has many advantages over traditional processes. Obviously it allows companies to quickly progress from a digital file to a finished product. But it also enables the production of very complex shapes, as well as “one off” designs that meet the needs of a specific customer. There is also the potential to develop highly customized mixtures of materials that deliver targeted performance characteristics.
Dave Conover: Recognizing the potential of this new technology, ANSYS has developed tools for simulating metal additive manufacturing processes. We are focusing our development on metal right now, but we do plan to add more materials in the future. The reason why metal is our focus is that it is the area where our customers are investing and seeing the greatest opportunity. It is also the area where trial and error costs them the most money, and thus a metal simulation tool can have the greatest financial impact in the near term.
“Additive manufacturing should make strategic sense as part of
a larger product development and manufacturing strategy.”
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