Additive manufacturing is one of the manufacturing technologies that is growing rapidly and is closely associated with industry flexibility and ever-changing times. The technology ignores the boundaries coupled with conventional manufacturing, such as milling and lathing and opens the design space for engineers and innovators. The process, however, does come with its challenges as many manufacturers would know.
Simufact Additive is a simulation solution for metal-based additive manufacturing processes which focus on Powder Based Fusion (PBF) and Binder Jetting (BJ) processes to obtain macroscopic results such as stresses and distortions. Additionally, thermo-mechanical calculations can also be considered to achieve precise results and to calibrate material, machine and solver.
The CAE tool is used by engineers, manufacturers and metallurgists to predict, anticipate and compensate for distortions, residual stresses and temperature distributions throughout the printing, heat treatment and cutting of manufactured parts. The software enables the user to virtually validate the specified manufacturing process to identify and prevent unwanted results associated with metal-based 3D printing processes.
Simufact uses MSC Software’s powerful non-linear solver, Marc, and has a best-in-class GUI, ensuring an extraordinary user experience with its intuitiveness. The GUI aligns the user application with the real process workflow to ensure that the focus is results and outcome-based. It includes various tutorial and examples, together with detailed documentation of both software and process.
By not interrupting production schedules and not wasting material, the software is very useful to virtually examine and explore the influences of:
- Material seclection
- Power vs speed
- Powder characteristics
- Build path
- Support and internal structures
Apart from the virtual manufacturing validation that Simufact offers, it guides the user with optimal manufacturing orientations, support generation and distortion compensation. It goes a step further to indicate build costs to help businesses determine feasibility studies.
The Orientation Assistant is included to determine the best build orientation based of different criteria, including support area, support volume, cost, risk, projected area and design height. The user can define inputs and weigh preference according to requirements in order to optimize the build process. With the available material costs and energy consumption of the consumption parameters, Simufact Additive can estimate build time and the accompanying costs.
Simufact Additive allows the user between its embedded support generation algorithm, or also includes the algorithm of Materialize. The functionality offers the several options and input parameters such as the faces that need to be included or excluded, radii, distances and critical angles. Additionally, Simufact Additive provides different techniques to optimize parts and to simplify it. The Support Optimization feature helps the user to find the optimal support structure, saving material, build time and energy. The software compensate for distortions with multiple iterations to ultimately get desired trade-off between quality and build parameters.
Simufact Additive supports al Powder Bed Fusion processes which includes Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), LaserCUSING, Electron Beam Melting (EBM). Deposition processes is covered under Simufact Welding. Heat Treatment can also be done to determine how much energy is require to normalize the material and residual stresses.
With its aim on smart manufacturing, the software also include capabilities of comparing manufactured parts to original CAD geometries with its Geometry Inspection tool. The user can see the deviations and as a result decide if the part will conform for its intended application. Simufact has also recently added the capability of subtractive manufacturing. The module can predict distortions due to milling and lathing processes. Toolpaths and cutting strategies can be improved to decrease material distortions thereof.