On the road to successful additive design

Additive Manufacturing will only be as good as its design. This will require a radically new way of thinking in engineering – if not, even the best printer on earth will not be able to produce useable parts.

So, how do we get an accomplished additive design? Geometrical freedom and functional integration can only get real if the function is understood to the finest degree. However, this means a huge problem for many companies.

This is exactly where FIT comes into play. We will never leave you to fend for yourself in the 3D printing jungle, rather we act as a guide for additive manufacturing to show you the best path to reach your goal. Find here two AM applications that required an elaborate engineering by our FIT designers.

Additive design

Sample case: Air condition bracket

The challenge.
Faiveley Transport Leipzig GmbH & Co. KG, a subsidiary of Wabtec Corp., builds air-conditioning systems that are held by conventional sheet metal brackets. Availability as well as weight are becoming more and more important issues. AM should provide a clearly weight-reduced variant.

The solution.
Based on the original design, the FIT engineers performed a complete reengineering, using topology-optimization and bionic design. Simulation techniques proved that all technical requirements of the original part were met.

The project realization.
The newly designed bracket was built from titanium on a Q20 using Electron Beam Melting. The additive variant withholds the same workloads as the conventional part, but with a total weight of only 0.8 kg (compared to the previous 4.6 kg) a reduction of 82 % could be achieved! As a side effect, the new bracket is produced in one single piece instead of 6, ready to assemble.

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Sample case: Helicopter drone

The challenge.
Drones are gaining more and more importance in many use cases, e.g. for the targeted applying of pesticides, the fighting of wildfires, or for mountain rescue. Flight time depending on battery power is one of the important performance features of the remote-controlled aircraft.

The solution.
To enhance flight time considerably, our design engineers at FITNIK developed the prototype of a weight-optimized helicopter drone. The energy consumption was to be minimized significantly by a resolute reduction of weight which was to be achieved by skillful topology-optimization.

The project realization.
A prototype with complex geometrical structures was 3D printed in full compliance to EN 9100, using aluminum and laser melting. The special organic design allowed for a weight reduction of 80 %. Meaning, the drone can now remain in the air almost twice as long as before. The required structural values are fulfilled.

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FIT unites design and ideal technology

Even the best imaginable design can only be successful if it meets the needed manufacturing capability. That’s why it is essential for our designers and engineers to know exactly how the part will be realized, that is, what material, technology, and finishing technique will be used. Obviously, the resolution of the data model has to match the achievable values of the machine.
So, if you need plastic parts requiring very good surfaces, fine details, and high resolution, the recommended technology may be stereolithography. The latest extension of our machine park are 4 stereolithography machines of the latest generation by 3D Systems.

Did you know? Transparent cylinder head models are ideal to reveal the normally hidden flow characteristics. By using the perfectly clear material Accura® ClearVue™, the behavior of the cooling liquid can be made visible.

Get the most out of your additive projects! As a leading specialist in additive manufacturing, our mission is to deliver a perfect component for your specific application every single time. Whether you need recommendations for the additive optimization of your existing design or require a full redesign – talk to us. We are the experienced guide who leads you safely to success.

Alexander Bonke

Alexander Bonke


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