Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, a division of the global IT company specialized in simulation solutions, has entered into a number of collaborations with metal additive manufacturing companies, including Sciaky, pro-beam, DM3D, Gefertec and Meltio. The collaborations target the advancement of Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technologies for industrial applications.
DED is an area of metal AM with high potential, especially for the cost-effective production of large-scale parts. The process also has the capability of repairing metal parts, which has made it particularly interesting to military players as well as aerospace MRO companies. DED also has potential within the framework of hybrid manufacturing processes, as it can be used in combination with wire EDM and milling to achieve high precision metal parts.
However, in order for a more broad adoption and industrialization of DED technologies, there are still steps that need to be taken in terms of process consistency, repeatability and predictability. That’s where Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence comes in. The company is leveraging its expertise in automation, sensors and software and combining with that of DED 3D printer OEMs, customers and service providers to predict how high-value metals like titanium and stainless steels behave in the DED process.
“We see significant demand for the use of our technologies in tandem to create customized, cost-effective solutions that meet the needs of specific additive manufacturing technologies in a variety of applications,” said Mathieu Pérennou, global business development director for additive manufacturing in Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division. “Optimising deposition production processes may entail taking advantage of powerful simulation tools, state-of-the-art scanning technology, robust reverse-engineering and analysis software, or a combination of all of these technologies to achieve the required quality and repeatability.”
As we saw earlier this week, Hexagon has partnered with Sciaky, integrating the latter’s EBAM 3D printers with Hexagon’s process simulation software for DED applications. This combination of technologies will enable Sciaky customers can make the most out of their metal AM systems and optimize productivity.
pro-beam, a specialist in wire electron beam technology, is also benefiting from Hexagon’s technology. pro-beam’s new PB WEBAM 100 machine has a fully validated 100% virtual design-for-manufacturing workflow based on a structural aerospace part. The validation was thanks to Hexagon’s Simufact Welding solution, which was used to create a DED simulation model that takes into account all of the PB WEBAM 100’s proprietary vacuum conditions, clamping locations and power adjustments to predict stresses, strains and distortions.
In the validation process, the new WEBAM system printed an aerospace component consisting of 35 layers of titanium wire. The resulting part was then scanned using Hexagon’s AS1 Absolute scanner and REcreate reverse engineering software. When compared to the simulated part, the printed part had a very strong dimensional correlation and demonstrated bending at the base plate, which the simulated part also had. “Having reduced simulation time by a factor of 13 without any loss of result quality, it is clear we can rely on Hexagon’s technologies for robust virtual engineering,” said Verena Uhl, Product Manager at pro-beam.
Among Hexagon’s other DED-focused partnerships is service bureau and machine manufacturer DM3D. The American company is using Hexagon’s portable measurement technologies to prove a full-scale (2.8 meters tall) 3D printed NASA RS-25 nozzle liner can meet NASA’s tolerance requirements for its Rapid Analysis and Manufacturing Propulsion Technology (RAMPT) project.
“Hexagon’s experience and portable metrology technology has proved very valuable for validating the RAMPT RS-25 liner part and generating an accurate model for finish machining,” said Dr. Bhaskar Dutta, President of DM3D Technology: “It is one of the largest DED builds ever made, so we needed a good and reliable inspection technique for part validation. It’s obviously not practical to move a 2-ton rocket engine part to a CMM for inspection. By accurately and quickly measuring the part inside the machine, we also see the opportunity to perform any rework on the part, had it been needed.”
Last but not least, Meltio, a laser metal deposition company, is using Hexagon’s ESPRIT CAM software with its technology ecosystem to provide machine shops with a single, intuitive interface for preparing DED production and machining jobs. In short, the software streamlines the Meltio Engine CNC Integration system, a hybrid workflow designed for the production of complex metal components.