Faced with increased competition and under new management, the ExOne Company is now increasingly focused on simplifying binder jetting for part production and making it a reality. In order to further streamline the process, ExOne and simulation software expert ANSYS have entered into a partnership to develop software that predicts the sintering behavior of binder jetted metal parts.
The partners are aiming to present a beta software release for 316L stainless steel in Q1 2020, with modeling software for other materials to follow.
“The predictive software under development between ExOne and ANSYS will streamline the process of designing metal parts for binder jetting, which includes the essential final sintering step,” explained John Hartner, CEO of ExOne. “While ExOne customers successfully sinter parts today, the process often involves some trial and error with sacrificial parts. We are confident that new simulation software will greatly simplify this process and ease adoption of our sustainable manufacturing process.”
“Binder jetting is increasingly seen as a game-changing technology for enabling cheaper metal parts from additive manufacturing,” added Brent Stucker, Director of Additive Manufacturing at ANSYS. “Through our collaboration with ExOne, ANSYS is committed to providing simulation technologies to help additive manufacturing practitioners understand and control their processes and materials, increase understanding of the underlying physics driving the process, and ultimately lead to rapid certification and qualification of components made using additive manufacturing.”
Compared to other manufacturing methods, binder jetting has the advantage of being faster and generating less waste in the production of precision metal parts. Crucially, the process also creates new avenues for design freedom. The new software developed by ANSYS and ExOne will play an important role in predicting how parts will behave during the sintering process, post binder jetting, so that manufacturers can adjust process parameters to achieve the best results.
The software will also refine ExOne’s patented process of 3D printing sintering setters in alumina, which are used in the sintering process to support certain geometric features.