machine and material combination, we need to first understand what the material properties will be after it’s manufactured,” Autodesk’s Scott said. “To achieve this, we need in-process monitoring of the machine so that we can simulate the process and optimize not only the geometry but also the machine control. Once we have this real-time connectivity to the machine, we will be able to produce predictable, reliable and repeatable parts with sig- nificantly reduced trial and error. We have the optimiza- tion and simulation software in place and just need to work in feedback from the machines to help reach the potential of additive manu- facturing.” Process automation and

optimization can be a way to achieve the goal of simplify- ing the AM simulation process and minimizing the gap between the designed and manufactured part, Rushton said. “A simulation expert would

develop, validate and sim- plify the simulation process, exposing only what a non-en- gineer would need as inputs and outputs,” he added. A streamlined, easier-to-

use process will enable non- engineers or others without a deep level of expertise to work in 3D printing, Scott and Church said. The Inspire software has

shifted simulation into early phases of design process, Kroeger said. Although the new technology costs more, the shorter design process outweighs the added cost, he said. “Just using this technol-

ogy, we’re seeing 200-300 percent improvement in the


design throughput,” he said. “When it gets to that ideal situation, we’ll see another 200-300 percent off that. Once you get the shape and press a single button and go to the printer, you’ve eliminated parametric CAD and a good bit of the design process. Scientists at our company say we are 95 percent of the way to button-click-and-smooth use.”

Alpha software in a year? Church predicted a year

for alpha software. Kroeger predicted about five years. Once that happens, AM will be able to compete more effectively. Compared with tradition-

al manufacturing, AM offers more economical topology optimization, SLM Solutions’ Hansen said. Manufacturers using AM are not limited to producing round holes be- cause of cylindrical tooling. Similarly, with AM,

manufacturers may be able to build parts using a lat- tice structure to realize the same or better strength, rigidity and fatigue life with 40-60 percent less mate- rial than what is used with traditionally manufactured parts, he said. “In an ideal world, if I

“We have been collaborating and competing with a number of companies in this business. We need each other to help push this industry forward. We are optimistic and this is not bad. What is bad is to over-promise and under- deliver. This hurts the industry. We must show that we can make electronically functional structures that bring value.”

Kenneth Church of nScrypt

could take an engine block or suspension component for an automobile and remove excess material re- quired for traditional manu- facturing methods and still have the same strength and same mechanical proper- ties, I’m saving money pro- ducing that part,” Hansen said. “Often, I can build it faster than a traditional part. Things wouldn’t nec- essarily need to be over- engineered.”

Fall 2016

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