Composite Extrusion Modeling (CEM) AIM3D integrates CEM 3D printer into Siemens NX tool
Mapping a 3D printing process as a continuous digital process chain from design to manufacturing and post-processing is the logical consequence of a digital-additive manufacturing strategy. On behalf of AIM3D, the development service provider Naddcon has now integrated the ExAM 255 3D printer into the Siemens NX environment.
With CAD, CAM and CAE approaches, Siemens NX offers the designer a comprehensive tool for the design and iterative optimisation of additive components. Based on a desired requirement profile, the 3D components can be optimised in terms of bionics, free-form surfaces, selective densities (variable filling strategies) and weight savings (e.g. grid structures). The fibres can also be laid down in an optimised way for the force flow, which defines the stiffness or elasticity and the mechanical load capacity. In addition, a database system and powerful simulation models are stored.
AIM3D's multi-material printers can print products made of metals, ceramics, plastics and reinforced plastics on the basis of standard injection moulding granulate. Their Composite Extrusion Modelling (CEM) process combines metal injection moulding, ceramic injection moulding and actual injection moulding with the FDM process.
Now the machine firmware of the CEM 3D printer ExAM 255 has been integrated into the CAD/CAM environment of Siemens NX as a CAM processing machine. In addition to design optimisations, this also enables an exact simulation of the 3D printing process, so that travel speeds, extruder performance and temperatures can be controlled with pinpoint accuracy depending on the component geometry. For this purpose, the CAD model of the ExAM 255 was imported into NX, the kinematic axes defined and the machine zero point determined. This kinematics model enables the machine simulation of the tool paths before the actual production. This is followed by the tool path generation for the extruder of the AM system.
Optimised component as demonstrator
The programming was tested on a sample component made of PA6 GF30 on the ExAM 255. Optimal process parameters were identified and possible errors in the post-processor were excluded. The demonstrator could be subjected to numerous optimisations with NX. For example, the designer can now vary densities, integrate lattice structures to reduce weight, control shrinkage, apply stiffeners and relocate holes to optimally design the entire component and build it up in the 3D printer in a process-ready manner.
Free-form surface machining in 3D CEM printing
By integrating the CEM process into Siemens NX, tool paths can now be created along curved surfaces. True 3D paths that create planes independently are thus generated. When using this technology in process development, the stair-step effect typical of AM can be avoided. The result is a true 3D contour of a solid.