Altair unveils 2 solutions for AM simulation – 3D prints an industrial robot arm with MX3D

Beyond the choice for the ideal manufacturing technology, another crucial concern for those who aim to achieve afirst time right print approachis to know the appropriate simulation solution they will leverage. Interestingly, to drive modern manufacturing from capability to capacity, Altair launches two solutions compatible with the most used additive manufacturing technologies: Altair InspireTM studio and Altair InspireTM Print3D.  

Ravi Kunju, Altair

Before leveraging any of these solutions, it remains important to analyze the requirements of every project before diving into the creative solutions the simulation tools can offer”, explained Ravi Kunju Senior Vice President, Business Development and Strategy, during the press conference at Formnext 2019.

As far as the other steps to achieve a successful design for manufacturing are concerned, Kunju also lays emphasis on the fact that the engineer should take into account the manufacturing design rules when it comes to generative design. He therefore benefits from an automatic creation of geometry while ensuring the part meets the performance requirements and that this part is manufactured without any defects.

One interesting example of how this workflow is applied can be seen on the manufacturing of a 3D printed robot arm.

Dutch company MX3D recently collaborated with Altair to 3D print an optimized industrial robot arm.  As part of this collaboration, Altair’s engineers leverage generative design methods to achieve optimal results.

Both partners aim to manufacture customized replacement parts. Leveraging their respective experience in software and metal 3D printing, they have been able to achieve a rapid and automated production of large-scale parts that normally required extensive tooling and overseas production, causing long lead times and limited customization options.

Industrial robot arm – image via MX3D

Technically speaking, the original part weighed 150 kg and was reduced to 73 kg, while keeping the same strength. With 24/7 production, the print was achieved in 4 days. At the end of the process, the team also leveraged a standard 3-axis milling machine to achieve the right tolerances at the connecting points.  

Altair InspireTM Print3D

Only designed for SLM processes, the design and simulation software enables engineers to create and optimize designs for the requirements and process variables for producing them.

There can be multiple scenarios that the operator can choose when he wants to achieve part performance. Whatever the option he chooses, the Inspire Print3D quickly easily helps the designer to identify errors such as distortion, delamination and overheating, and enables their correction before the printing process stage.

Furthermore, the advanced thermo-mechanical simulations are also an interesting option to decrease the need for finishing and costly optimisation layers, not to mention the little supports that appear on the designs that can be optimally matched to the 3D printer in use.

With regards to these features, engineers are able to save real time using InspireTM Print3D, compared to the traditional iterative simulation cycles for the print construction, cooling, finishing and springback of parts.

Altair InspireTM studio

The Altair InspireTM studio aims to restart with an idea”, said the Senior Vice President. For Altair, that’s the solution for those who are looking to explore unlimited creativity and flexibility to deliver product presentations in real-time.

Designers, architects, and digital artists can leverage the solution on both Mac OS X and Windows as a standalone product or under Altair’s flexible token-based licensing model.

Credit: Francesco di Giuseppe – Made with Inspire STudio

The release of Altair InspireTM will enable designers to reach another level of simulation. “We try to solve problems that we cannot solve within a reasonable amount of time”, said Ravi Kunju.

There is still a lot of issues that need to be tackled to get to the end-product, but Altair has managed to solve one pivotal one and that’s a big step while moving towards real manufacturing.

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