Custom Copper Inductors Optimized for 3D Printing with Web-Based Configurator

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Trinckle was founded in 2013 in Germany and has been making headlines ever since. Collaboration is at the core of what they do and their most recent venture is no exception. Having previously partnered with TNT Germany, Conrad ElectronicMeltWerk, Luxexcel, and Kuhn-Stoff, to name a few, they have now reached out to PROTIQ Marketplace in order to create and release a web-based configuration app designed to allow customers to configure and then order customized 3D printed copper inductors. This latest release is part of their overarching mission to work to automate complex design processes through the use of software algorithms.

An inductor, in addition to being the coolest nerd name for a fighter in a professional wrestling match, is a passive two-terminal electrical component that stores electrical energy in a magnetic field when electric current flows through it, and typically consists of an insulated wire wound into a coil around a core. Their uses are many, and the design of the appropriate conductor is a complex process that can be both expensive and time consuming. Trinckle’s newest app works to address both of those issues.

The Configurator, as it is named, is a web-based app that allows the user to input a number of parameters and have the appropriate conductors that respond to those parameters automatically designed for them and then ordered within the same platform. For example, it is possible to select whether the inductor needs to be round outside, round inside, rectangle inside, rectangle outside, oval, or pancake. From there, the user of the Configurator inputs characteristics such as total height, number of turns, channel diameter, and connection orientation, for a total of 13 key indicators. Each indicator is manipulated on a sliding scale or via direct input and a live view of the conductor appears as the characteristics are shifted, including a production price. As Dr. Ralf Gärtner, Managing Director of the PROTIQ Marketplace, explained:

“Thanks to our self-developed process, we have the production side for highly conductive copper well under control. In order to ensure that our customers receive 100% application-specific inductors with an optimized magnetic field within the shortest possible time, we have to consider the design of the required 3D models as well. We want to enable our customers to configure the tailor-made inductor models online in just a few minutes. This is where our technology partner trinckle comes into play. Using our inductor generator on PROTIQ.com, which is based on trinckle technology, users simply select the basic form required for their application. Based on this, they can determine individual parameters such as the number of turns, coil diameter or the positioning of the connection. There are currently six basic shapes to choose from, which can be adapted to your personal needs with just a few clicks, according to a flexible modular system.”

The model created is optimized for 3D printing and ready for immediate production. In this way, the need for extensive CAD knowledge is eliminated and the time-consuming proposal phase also is removed. The removal of time and cost barriers to creation are areas in which 3D printing and 3D modeling have continued to make advances for industrial production. The sexier stories in 3D printing are often about the production of some consumer or medical good, but the ability to create the components that create the products or services we rely on is a huge part of the importance of the technology. Dr. Ole Bröker, trinckle Head of Business Development, explained:

“We were able to close the gap in the digital business model of the PROTIQ Marketplace and realize a customer-specific design creation. A manual design process would have caused enormous costs and could have compromised the viability of the business model. Now that every customer can access an optimized inductor model intuitively, online and without effort, we see a fully digital and scalable process. A great application example for our configuration software paramate.”

He added, “In the next step, we would like to extend the online configuration with an instant simulation of the resulting magnetic field.”

As trinckle continues to grow and collaborate, PROTIQ’s Dr. Gärtner notes this is just the beginning of their own collaborative efforts together:

“Product-by-product PROTIQ plans to move from additive producibility to scalable business models. With trinckle, we have the right partner at our side who understands the requirements of the industry and helps us to cover the entire digital process chain. We are already identifying the next projects for 2018 and going into intensive discussions with our customers to learn which individual needs are particularly urgent.”

This is yet another example of the collaborative culture that is so much a part of 3D printing and design, and part of what has made the technology stand apart from other design and manufacturing technologies. It’s not just what it can do, but the very nature of how it is done that is changing and trinckle continues to locate itself on the forefront of these tectonic shifts.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

[Images: trinckle/Steve Bergmann]

 

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