Waterford Institute of Technology.
3D Metal Additive Manufacturing-A Paradigm Shift in Engineering Manufacturing and a Potential Source for Energy Conservation
Energy Conservation through Metal Additive Manufacturing and what SEAM can offer for Irish Industries in Metal AM
Synopsis: In today’s world where global warming is on the rise with every passing year, Energy conservation is becoming important both from environmental and economic point of view. There are numerous ways in which one can conserve energy. It is reported that industrial sector where in manufacturing forms key part consumes about 37% of the world’s total delivered energy. This presentation discusses how additive manufacturing can pave the way for innovation, mass customisation with reduced material and energy usage through multiple examples. It then discusses what SEAM facility at WIT can offer to Irish based industries in the area of metal additive manufacturing.
1. Importance of Energy conservation to reduce environmental burden
2. Additive Manufacturing as a means to conserve energy
3. Additive Manufacturing paves the way for innovation and mass customisation
4. SEAM at WIT offer Metal Additive Manufacturing Technologies to Industries
In today’s world where global warming is on the rise with every passing year, Energy conservation is becoming important both from environmental and economic point of view. There are numerous ways in which one can conserve energy. It is reported that industrial sector where in manufacturing forms key part consumes about 37% of the world’s total delivered energy. A consensus is now beginning to emerge that Additive Manufacturing (AM) can pave the way for innovation, mass customisation with reduced material and energy usage. AM saves energy by eliminating production steps, using substantially less material, enabling reuse of by-products, and producing lighter products. This blog discusses about Metal Additive Manufacturing and what SEAM facility at WIT can offer to Irish based industries in this fast emerging field.
The additive manufacturing process commences with a 3D digital image from a newly generated CAD software design or a digital scan of an existing component. A computer file is then generated that slices this image into cross sectional layers that are sent to the additive manufacturing machine which creates the component utilising a layer upon layer selective deposition technique. What makes this manufacturing process so disruptive is the design freedom it allows, creating the capacity to manufacture complex component shapes with internal geometries and infrastructure which cannot be replicated utilising with conventional subtractive processes. Novel geometries enabled by AM technologies can also lead to performance and environmental benefits in a components product application. Furthermore, it also creates the opportunity to completely change the supply chain management and distribution network for engineering components, bringing the manufacturer closer to the customer. Digital files will be distributed to regionalised additive manufacturers near their customers, capable of a manufacturing a wide range of products on demand without the need for retooling, eliminating the need for need for large inventories of products and spare parts.
In the SEAM Gateway our mission is help translate the potential of 3D Metal Additive Manufacturing Technologies to Irish companies. The Gateway has on site in Waterford an EOSINT M 280 which is based on the innovative DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering). It is equipped with a 200 W fibre laser which melts fine metal powder and builds up the product layer by layer. This method allows you to create products with extremely complex geometries including elements such as free-form surfaces, deep slots and coolant ducts.
Because 3D Metal Additive Manufacturing is an emerging technology with slower unit fabrication times and higher capital equipment costs than traditional methods, the early adaptors have been typically been one off high value added components. Examples of this include tooling for injection moulding where the optimised design of internal cooling channels greatly enhance productivity. The capacity to produce complex customisable components is of particular interest to high value added sectors such as
- Bio-medical device where implantable devices can be customised to the patients offer huge potential, for example orthodontics and orthopaedic applications
- Aerospace where the reduction in the size and number of constituent parts can yield significant weight savings and resultant lower fuel costs
- Automotive industries- high end specialised automobiles such as F1 engine parts
But there are significant technical challenges which need to be surmounted in order to widen range of use and performance of 3D Metal Additive printed components and devices including:
- A wider range of materials that can be used
- A greater understanding of material properties such as particle size, distribution, morphology and purity of the metal powder used in the additive process and the impact this has on machine process parameters, component density, reliability and surface finish.
- Heat treatment techniques post processing to increase strength and hardness of the device by reducing residual stresses created by the additive layer process.
- Enhanced capabilities in 3D digital design delivering more complex customised solutions
SEAM is uniquely placed within the Irish research infrastructure to address these issues and practically apply solutions relevant to the Irish manufacturing industry because of its high level of industry engagement and its wide range of materials engineering expertise and in house reliability and characterisation tools. These include a suite of X-Ray Micro tomography, 3D Finite Element Design capability, SEM, Mechanical Strength and Hardness Testing that can be utilised in combination to optimise and reduce the design cycle time from concept to a functioning prototype.
SEAM in partnership with its sister Gateways in the Technology Gateway Network, including APT which specialises in polymer processing technologies, is focussed on practically applying the emerging 3D Additive Manufacturing Technology innovations to Irish Industry. The core objective will be to generate exciting new products and capabilities for the 21st century Irish Engineering and Manufacturing sectors.
Click below to view a PDF of Ramesh’s submission.
About Ramesh Raghavendra:
SEAM Centre Director & Technology Gateway Manager.
Dr. Ramesh Raghavendra is the Director of the South Eastern Applied Materials (SEAM) Research Centre. He holds Ph.D in Materials Science along with MBA and MS in Metallurgical Engineering. Ramesh worked as Senior Research Fellow at University of Limerick for five years, followed by 11 years at Littelfuse Ireland in Dundalk as senior Materials Technologst prior to joining SEAM in 2008. Ramesh has over 25 years of materials research experience in both industrial and academic environment and has over 60 peer reviewed publications and two patents to his credit. In his current role as SEAM Centre Director Ramesh has been instrumental in establishing collaborations with over 130 Irish based industries and successfully managed to deliver over 975 directly funded industrial projects in the last seven years. In addition, he has also successfully managed and executed several EI funded Innovation Partnership projects. He has also successfully coordinated an FP7-SME Project. For his contribution to Industrial services, Ramesh received KTI Award under Industrial Impact Category in 2015.
About SEAM (WIT):
SEAM (South Eastern Applied Materials) Research Centre based within Waterford Institute of Technology is an industry dedicated materials research and development facility providing innovative materials engineering solutions for wide ranging industrial sectors such as Medical devices, Precision Engineering, Pharma and Energy sectors in Ireland. SEAM, currently seed funded under Enterprise Ireland’s Technology Gateway programme, has established itself as the first stop for companies seeking assistance on materials related issues that cannot be solved by utilising their on-site resources. SEAM’s metallic, polymer and ceramic expertise are proving invaluable to its clients due to offerings of its niche technologies (X-ray CT Scan, Finite Element Modelling & Metal 3D printing ) and materials research capabilities to resolve their day to day process/product and quality related issues. SEAM currently works with over 130 companies and has executed over 975 directly funded industrial projects to date since its launch in 2009.