3D printers 3D printing 3D printers—it’s really happening. And while it’s not an entirely new phenomenon, we do now have more details about how HP is not only utilizing its own Jet Fusion systems to 3D print parts for new machines but how this production approach has saved the company time and resources.
According to a Linkedin post published by Jan Mrosik, the COO of Digital Industries at Siemens, his company worked closely with HP to optimize the ventilation system for the latter’s new Jet Fusion 5210 3D printer series using digital twin technology and HP’s 3D printing technology. This development process resulted in far faster development times, manufacturing costs reduced by up to 35% and a better performing part.
Cool down, 3D printer
Like any manufacturing technology or machine, a critical part of a well-functioning 3D printer is its cooling system. When developing its new Jet Fusion 5210 3D printer—released earlier this year—HP wanted to ensure that it was equipped with the best ventilation system possible.
To achieve this, it teamed up with Siemens to optimize the ventilation system using digital twin technology. Using digital twin software, the companies were able to simulate and closely analyze air flow patterns with the ventilation design and ultimately use that data to generate a ventilation system with optimized cooling channel topology. In the end, Siemens and HP were able to deliver a ventilation system that had a 22% increase in air flow efficiency.
The ventilation system has also enabled HP’s new 3D printer model to achieve print rates up to 15% faster than preceding systems, without any added risk of overheating.
Four months to four weeks
More than an improved performance, the digital twin approach allowed HP to drastically reduce development times for the new ventilation system, from four months to just four weeks.
As mentioned, the optimized component was also developed with the view of ultimately manufacturing it using HP’s new 3D printer series, which creates new advantages in terms of efficiency. For instance, by 3D printing the part using its own technology (with support from Siemens’ digital software solutions), HP could be saving up to 35% in manufacturing costs for the part.
Looking at this particular case study, digital twin technology has enabled HP to not only improve its machine’s performance but to transform the part development process entirely. Mrosik highlights a specific example of how Siemens’ digital twin capabilities addressed multiple aspects of the development and production process:
“In order to conserve resources during production, the software automatically calculates the ideal filling of the installation space,” he writes. “In addition to capacity and material consumption, it also derives staff requirements, thus facilitating the scaling of large order volumes.
“If the production volume of a future order scenario is known, production can be simulated in advance: The program calculates all the various aspects relevant for efficient production— including the number of printers and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) required, as well as the arrangement and ideal distance between the individual machines. Afterwards, during series production, the MindSphere IoT operating system meticulously monitors the printing process— and the fact that all the data collected is considered in real time ensures smooth production workflows.”
The impressive example of how digital twin technology, and specifically Siemens’ custom Digital Enterprise solutions allowed HP to improve its 3D printing technology and production, will be showcased this week at MTC3 in Munich, Germany.