Formnext Siemens shows sustainable applications for green additive manufacturing

Source: Siemens

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At this year's Formnext, the international trade fair for additive manufacturing, Siemens is demonstrating how sustainable additive manufacturing works. Using several use cases, the technology company shows how resources, carbon footprint and environmental impact can be reduced.

Siemens proves that optimised product design plays an important role in green additive manufacturing.
Siemens proves that optimised product design plays an important role in green additive manufacturing.
(Source: Siemens)

In a use case presented at Formnext, Siemens shows that optimised product design plays an important role in green additive manufacturing. With the gripper solution of a handling robot used in automotive production, the total mass of the gripper could be reduced by 64 percent. By utilising the design freedom in additive manufacturing in the design phase, weight and thus required material can be significantly reduced. With “NX for AM”, Siemens offers a seamless digital process chain to find the best design through topology optimisation, then test it using FEM simulation and prepare it for printing. In addition, “Teamcenter Product Cost Management” and “Product Carbon Footprint Calculator” allow for optimising both production costs and carbon footprint of the product in advance. The specific project originally involved a gripper solution weighing over 58 kg, which was assembled from more than 660 parts. In addition to weight reduction, design freedom has also reduced 80 percent of assembly time by eliminating the need for complex assemblies. Comparing conventional and additive design, production costs were reduced by 73 percent; with an 82 percent lower carbon footprint. In addition, the weight reduction in turn enabled the use of smaller robots, resulting in energy savings of 54 percent per year.

More efficient production thanks to digitally optimised energy consumption

A second use case for environmentally friendly additive manufacturing is the cooperation with Genera, a global supplier of highly automated, photopolymer-based additive manufacturing technologies, in conjunction with the “AM Digital Factory Planning toolbox” from Siemens Advanta. Here, the large-scale production of plug connections was simulated by use of digital light processing. Through the “Digital Twin of Production”, precise and transparent analyses of the energy consumption of the 3D printers under different machine states could be created without interfering with running systems. Due to more efficient energy management, it was possible to save between 25 and 30 percent of the energy requirement per component produced, depending on the utilization of the printers.

Print-on-demand and AM Network reduce carbon footprint

Additive manufacturing changes the existing paradigm of expensive physical inventory to a digital warehouse, where the goods are produced only when needed, nearby the point of consumption. It increases the supply chain resiliency, decreases inventory costs, and decreases the transportation CO2 emissions. Siemens Additive manufacturing digital solutions allow organisations to build, verify and certify these digital assets into pre-defined libraries, ready to be ordered by click of a button. The Siemens AM Network routes these manufacturing requests to the most appropriate production sites to maximize the global production capacity and assure higher utilization of the equipment. Unnecessary downtimes are avoided, energy spent in warming up and cool-down of the 3D printer is optimally used. The Siemens AM Network also allows companies to digitally interact with each other and optimise the use of underutilised production facilities with fluctuating production needs.


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