Arburg

Is additive manufacturing ready for series production?

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Based on proven and successful EOS technology – the EOS M 290 DMLS system – the new Agie Charmilles AM S 290 tooling solution is designed to address the mould and die industry’s need to produce innovative mould inserts using AM. GF and EOS will undertake the integration of the AM machines into the production process of mould inserts, including the necessary software and automation link with downstream machine tools and measuring devices.

When asked about challenges, the experts from EOS say: “The challenge for companies regarding the introduction of additive manufacturing processes is generally that particularly at the beginning they are still driven by conventional manufacturing processes. Components are often designed in the usual way and not optimised to meet the specific demands of additive manufacturing." Thus, the benefits of generative methods are not initially fully exploited. At this point it would be important to let go of the old way of thinking and consistently apply design guidelines for additive manufacturing. A demand Arburg supports, as the Loßburg company generally insists on adapted design guidelines.

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The human factor remains one of the most important aspects

Machine tool users know Mapal Präzisionswerkzeuge Dr. Kress as a leading global supplier of precision tools headquartered in Aalen, Germany. One of the company’s particular strengths is fine machining with clamping tools. Dr. Dirk Sellmer, Head of R&D at Mapal, says: “The biggest pro for additive manufacturing is the special design possibilities it offers." Additive processes free designers from the limitations of conventional production and offer a high degree of freedom. Also, because it requires a lot less setup-time, even small batch sizes can still be produced cost-efficiently, explains Sellmer. Another advantage is the much more material efficient production, for example through integrated rib structures in the tool interior.

However, one of the most important aspects is surely the human factor! Current design education is mainly focused on conventional production, but designing for 3D printers requires a new way of thinking and the implementation of appropriate qualification measures. ETMM

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