Inside 3D Printing Seoul 2019 Day Two

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After enjoying the excellent restaurants and nightlife of buzzing Seoul we reconvened for day two of Inside 3D Printing Seoul. After opening remarks by Smartech’s Kirsten Mulherin, Dr. Behrang Poorganji of GE started his keynote. Dr. Poorgangji is the Director of Materials Technology at GE Additive. He took us through the crucial role that materials play in metal 3D printing. In this informative presentation, he tooks us through many different elements of designing and developing materials for 3D printing. As well as examples of cases in aerospace and inside GE itself he also discussed 3D printing for medical implants. He gave us an overview of common 3D printed materials as well as newer titanium alloys. We were also told of specific alloys for titanium and nickel superalloys as well as super exciting development such as TiAl (titanium alumide). He took us through many of the process parameters in metal 3D printing as well. We got a really good overview of many of the different elements affecting your 3D printed part. From things such as the powder source, powder size, powder composition, and powder reuse procedures to the spot size, laser powder, laser travel speed and dwell time to elements such as your hatching strategy and recoating parameters. Later he also showed us how tearing and solidification cracking that is caused when the melt pool solidifies. He mentioned that understanding this behavior was key to designing and developing good designs for new alloys. He also took us through how powder characterisation could be aided by computer vision. When then a “physics informed process model” was coupled with “multivariate probabilistic optimization” in process development was combined with process control and analysis we could have physics based machine learning lead us to new powders and parts.  Dr. Poorganji’s explanations were really an eye opener for many to the many different elements that control for a metal build. The huge number of variables in 3D printing processes must have given many pause for thought, especially those who perhaps were a bit too optimistic about their 3D printing implementation. Besides giving us a great update on the advances of materials it provided us with a very educational overview of what it takes to manufacture with metal 3D printing.

This was a leitmotiv for the entire day with speaker after speaker returning with information from 3D printing’s frontlines. The day was a chorus of speakers who were all filling us in on the details and difficulties of manufacturing using 3D printing. It was really refreshing to hear so many spot-on presentations that brought real realism and knowledge to the floor. Gone were the hypemasters with their dreams on the desktop and overclaim. Here was real realism, real information and people preaching caution and careful progression. Everyone, to a man, was realistic and preached realism and shared information that was useful. This day really warmed my heart.

I didn’t get to see everyone but Hyundai Motors’ Shinhu Cho continued in this vein by showing us all of the relevant examples of 3D printing in automotive. From competitors, race cars and one-off automobiles he gave us an excellent overview of the latest implementations in 3D printing for automotive. Clear examples were discussed and limitations and progress were explained well to us all.

Next was Manuel Michiels of Materialise. He also gave an excellent presentation that really imparted knowledge on everyone. In his case, his talk was enhanced by great graphics and movies showing us what it would take for us to make qualified aerospace parts. He took us through yields, scrap and the actual process of producing parts that fit specifications. In his opinion, it all starts with the right application. He felt that a strong focus on process engineering and productivity would be important as well. Research demonstrated that half of part failures may be accounted for by lack of knowledge. He showed a visibly impressed room how in Magics you could now see FEA simulations that showed part stresses. He also took us through the role that software could play in saving money in production as well.

Julien Cohen works for Eaton in their 3D Printing Center of Excellence. He also gave a really educational presentation that showed us how we can go from just printing parts to having a robust manufacturing process in place. He mentioned that going from one part to many and from prototypes to manufacturing was “not a linear progression.” He told us how important it is to “select the right parts for additive.” Multidisciplinary teams were key to avoiding costs and issues later in the process.  A real eye-opener was the assertion that in the development of manufacturing processes you were going to spend “less money and time on printing” and more on optimizing “pre and post processes” such as planning and post-processing. He showcased parts that they will be 3D printing for Airbus for use on aircraft and an innovative Ram Air Valve Assembly that was a great example of DfAM and took 22 parts and reduced it to one component with a mass reduction of 10%. Julien maintains that the Digital Thread is crucial for traceability especially in areas such as aerospace. Julien also told us that the “process is the material” and that laser power, scan speed, spot size, layer thickness, raw material as well as gas flow change your part. He talked about quality management as well. He mentioned that like a lot of people in 3D printing he does not like STL and presented the interesting point that many engineers do not realize how edges in an STL could effect fatigue life in the final part for example. As well as design he discussed data management, manufacturing and process design in a great talk.

Olivier de Deken of mass customization software company Twikit talked about how 3D printing could enable mass customization in automotive. The company that developed the BMW Mini mass customization software, and he went into how this works. He gave us a look into the Twikbot and how you can set parameters in that tool. He told us how Twikit was also focusing on orthotics and prosthetics as well as lifestyle products. He spoke about people “wanting their own car” and that it wasn’t about configuring but “really about making your own dashboard, making your own textures, making your own car fit you.” Made to fit seats was another thing Twikit is excited about. He also spoke about individualized parts for car-sharing companies. He talked about how CAD and design itself is completely changed by individualization.

Albert Sutiono of NAMIC then went on to give a presentation on the combination of the industrialization of 3D printing and the circular economy. He detailed Singapore’s 200 million investment in 3D printing and 3D printing startups such as Siege Advanced Manufacturing and Bralco. Singapore really seems to be investing in and generating national startups in many different areas and it looks like the ecosystem may be developing. Albert looked into technical and business challenges for 3D printing including the high cost of materials and lead times. Lack of integrated end to end workflow software and lack of commercially available affordable metal printing, in situ process control and smart post-processing were also limiting. Standards is also something that needs to be addressed. Albert then discussed and explained the circular economy and how this may be enabled through 3D printing. All in all, it was an interesting exploration about how our technology may fundamentally change the way we consume.

Inside 3D Printing Seoul continues until June 28th at KINTEX, South Korea.

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