Carl Fruth about Additive Design and Innovation

As competitive constraints are continuously increasing, innovativeness is getting more and more essential for companies. This is why innovation is needed and sought after, yet not easy to accomplish. Additive manufacturing has good innovative potential, but caution: embracing additive technologies will not automatically lead to successful innovation.

True innovation begins when you develop radically new functionalities. This means designers have to free their minds from well-established solutions. These are only obstacles on the path to the perfect additive solution. After all, we don’t just want to perform minor optimizations or save a little bit on costs when we can achieve so much more.

I would like to explain the tremendous benefit that additive engineering by our FIT designers may contribute by the following sample cases.

Newsletter Additive Design & Innovation

Sample case: Stents

The challenge.
The deployment of a coronary stent is still a risky operation as the so-called “dog-bone” effect may cause vessel wall damage at each end of the fully expanded stent. The goal is to develop new stent geometries to minimize the risks of occlusion and restenosis. By conventional manufacturing, a variation of diameter and wall thickness within one tiny tube is not possible.

The solution.
In a close collaboration with the OTH Regensburg and University Hospital Regensburg, FIT develops and validates a manufacturing procedure for additively designed stents which allows for a targeted local variation of parameters within one stent. Several structural designs were tested for technical feasibility.

The project realization.
The new generation stents were manufactured from stainless steel (326L / 1.4404) using a SLM laser melting machine. The demonstrators proved that the necessary structures with a wall thickness of 60 µm are feasible. The additively optimized structures outmatch the conventional equivalents because in AM, parameters can be defined locally and variably within one tube. This will improve the inhomogenous expansive and crimping performance of the new stents.

Do you have innovative medtech projects? We will be happy to receive your request!

Sample case: Product chutes

The challenge.
An automotive supplier is using sheet metal for product chutes, which required manual assembly of the various parts by specialists. As a consequence, the production of a chute took about 7 working days and causes substantial assembling costs. The immediate requirement was to reduce production time as well as costs.

The solution.
Our FIT designers solved the problem by applying additive design. The production tool is 3D printed in one single piece which makes assembly totally obsolete. A welcome additional benefit is that the complex bionic design of the chute saves on material as well as weight while maintaining the required stability. The integration of small rollers allows for the controlled transportation of items, thus outshining the original design in functionality.

The project realization.
The functionally optimized version of the chutes is produced using polyamide and selective laser sintering (SLS). Impressive benefits are a weight reduction of 80 % and cost savings of 70 %.

Do you have a clever idea how to optimize your production work flows? Get back to us, we look forward to your request!

Case study: The magical node

The challenge.
Architecture is a paragon application of additive manufacturing. New ways to realize innovative new forms are much sought after. The manufacturing of big and complex geometries in free geometries by conventional means is however costly.

The solution.
Our team of designers and architects has applied additive design to develop a hybrid solution which makes freedom of geometry affordable. This goal is achieved by combining conventional standard elements such as aluminum rods or u-profiles etc. These “magical” nodes are calculated with complex mathematical algorithms, depending on the intended usage which allows for a maximum freedom of design.

The project realization.
For our trade show appearance at formnext 2018, we created a booth consisting of more than 700 nodes in more than 100 variants, manufactured from polyamide with selective laser sintering (SLS). Various functions have been integrated into the nodes to serve as connector, cover, or cable duct. The eye-catching concept attracted many visitors and was a perfect framework to display all of FIT’s tradeshow highlights.

Are you interested in creating novel elements for construction purposes? Send us your request! We are here ready to help.

New: True-color guarantee exclusively by FIT

A highly recommendable technology in the additive manufacturing of plastics is the full-color PolyJet technology by Stratasys. It is used e.g. for design prototypes in perfect optical appearance that require a high degree of detail and excellent surfaces.

Full-color PolyJet uses 360,000 colors and 6 different material qualities. Everybody understands “blue”, but for an expert it is an extremely fuzzy term which includes an enormous variety of shades. In applications such as architecture or art & design it is vital to precisely define a color value.

Did you know?
FIT now provides a true color service! Our new “Capps.it” service uses ICC color management so that your part is exactly assigned the color you imagined. FIT is your specialist in additive design – this added value is available only from us!
Want to know more about this new service? Get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.

There is no alternative to additive design when you wish to achieve radical innovation by AM.

Our mission is to deliver a perfect component for your specific application every single time. We want to precisely understand the functional purpose of a product, an assembly, or an individual component. How is a component currently manufactured? What requirements does the finished component need to satisfy? Only when we’ve got to the heart of the matter we will start to act and work together with you to develop and implement a better, more cost-effective, or faster solution.

That’s why I always recommend to involve FIT as early as possible into a project and to discuss your ideas already at a still premature stage with us. We will help you to find the best path to success without detours.

Best regards
Carl Fruth

Carl Fruth


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