download (16)Surprises do have the potential to be wonderful, mostly when they come in the form of a windfall, an unexpected gift or compliment, or a visit from someone you really do want to see. These are the surprises we want; however, we generally do not want to see a lot of surprises at work. If you’re in the midst of a project and everything suddenly collapses, you can either collapse too—or handle the disappointment and start over, trying to figure out what went wrong and getting over the fact that you’ve wasted a tremendous amount of time (and probably money). In the 3D printing world, this can be quite upsetting if you’ve spent hours on a design or part, hours in 3D printing, and then it has failed somewhere along the way—perhaps even after getting so far as testing.

While we all like to keep such surprises to a minimum, larger corporations tend to put more investment into seeing that the predicted outcome is a positive one. And Simufact is in the business of helping them, whether they are involved in anything from bulk metal forming to welding to 3D printing and additive manufacturing. It’s a wonderful thing to hear that you can ensure a positive outcome, and while these promises don’t cover life in general (ahhh, but how wonderful that would be!) they can promise you success in your manufacturing endeavors with the help of Simufact solutions, an entire portfolio offered to meet specific needs.

download (27)If you are involved in the 3D printing realm, Simufact Additive allows you to get it right the first time in metal 3D printing—and that is the entire goal in using their software—eliminating wasted time and money when prints fail. Acting as a scalable process simulation environment, Simufact Additive is meant to optimize 3D metal printing with a simulation from A to Z.

The software solution allows the user to begin with simulation in the following steps:

  • Printing
  • Heat treatment
  • Cutting the metal part off the build plate
  • Removing support structures
  • Combining heat and pressure processes

“The initial release of Simufact Additive will predict the final distortion and residual stresses of metal 3D printed parts; future functional enhancements will introduce additional features,” states the Simufact team in a recent press release.

Modeling is performed in CAD but with a new graphical user interface (GUI) environment, and one that Simufact states is more aligned with the realistic work flow for the process. The software allows for settings and parameters to be defined for parts and components, also taking into account distortion and residual stresses that must be minimized.

“Today companies employing AM technology for printing metal parts have to cope with failure in their production processes and the high knock on costs associated with this,” Michael Wohlmuth, Simufact’s CEO, points out. “Simufact Additive is an important tool which will help these companies get it ‘right first time,’ by regularly running simulations prior to production.”

All about predicting the outcome, the Simufact software sifts through all the details to provide a foundation offering a range of variability and scalability. The company states that they will also soon be offering a system that allows for mechanical prediction of stresses caused by both distortion and residual stress with fully thermo-mechanically coupled transient analysis—providing a history regarding temperature and microstructure properties.

“For the technical heart of the software we developed an application-specific solver based on MSC’s powerful generic Marc solver,” says Simufact’s CTO, Dr. Hendrik Schafstall. “Simufact Additive will be able to capture the complete process chain in the manufacturing environment and to scale the simulation based on the user requirements. The key driver is accuracy followed by speed. Therefore, we have developed a completely new infrastructure specially dedicated to AM.”

Simufact-GR-AM-distortion-manifold

Manifold part distortion after cutting the base plate

The new GUI also includes meshing capabilities for the ‘automatic and rapid discretization’ of structures of any size and complexity level.

“When we started with the GUI concept for Simufact Additive we decided to start from scratch, to be open-minded and give space for new ideas,” said Dr. Patrick Mehmert, Product Manager, Simufact Additive. “Ease of use was our key objective. The user should be able to use the software quickly and to set up an analysis in just a few minutes.”

“Users should not spend their time searching the dialogs in complicated submenus. Therefore, the user interface is very tidy and comes with fewer icons and buttons than expected. At the same time contextual dialogs are available via right mouse clicks. We are convinced that Simufact Additive provides an exceptionally positive user experience.”

Bracket distortion after cutting the base plate.

Bracket distortion after cutting the base plate.

Renishaw, a UK manufacturer of advanced metal AM systems we enjoy following regularly—and most recently regarding their work with a French Moto2 team—now will be collaborating with the Simufact team, as they aim for the ultimate optimization resulting in ‘the best quality build file.’ They will also be combining their QuantAM build preparation software with the simulation software and enable data exchange, using QuantAM’s open API. A simulation will be performed soon with the results displayed in the QuantAM build preparation software, which will then be documented and displayed at Formnext 2016 in Frankfurt in November (at stand K44).

Future Simufact launch events are as follows:

  • Launching Simufact Additive at the TCT Show in Birmingham, UK, on September 28-29, 2016, and the formnext show in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, November 15-18, 2016. 
  • Dr. Patrick Mehmert’s offers introductory presentation at the TCT Show in Birmingham presenting Simufact Additive on Thursday, September 29, from 3:20 to 3:40 p.m., Tech Corner.
  • Simufact Additive Live-demo will be offered at the Formnext 2016. Register for the ‘Simufact Additive launch lunch’, on Wednesday, November 16, from 11:00 to 12:30 a.m., Hall 3, Floor C, Room ‘Effekt.’
  • Meet Simufact at the TCT show in Birmingham on stand B40, and see Renishaw’s QuantAM on stand F18/20.

Discuss further over in the Simufact Additive 3D Software forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source / Images: Simufact]
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