Prototypes Used in Production

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Prototypes Used in Production

Examples of prototypes that were used in production as a means of testing the ability to scale the capability into larger manufacturing processes include a heat exchanger for an automotive customer and denture frameworks for a health care professional services customer.

CASE STUDY #1

EXCHANGING METAL 3D PRINTING SOLUTIONS AT HIETA

COMPANIES

  • HiETA is tech company that develops metal AM methods to produce complex, light-weight structures for various types of heat-management applications.
  • Delta Motorsports, a UK based company, and a vehicle integrator was an important part of the collaboration between HiETA and Renishaw.

OVERVIEW

CHALLENGE

  • Heat exchangers are often made up from thin sheets of material that are welded together. The complex designs make production both difficult and time-consuming, while the welding process adds to the weight of the part.
The core challenges of the project are given below.
  • To ensure that AM could effectively create sufficiently thin walls of the requisite quality.
  • To produce a complete heat exchanger with the complexity of a typical component.
  • To move the process from the manufacture of samples and prototypes into low-volume production using the knowledge and experience gained in the project.

PART/PRODUCT

Two significant parts contributed to the system strength and project objectives.
  • A cuboid heat exchanger (recuperator) to be used as a range- extender for electric vehicles.
  • Since more complex shapes can improve performance and cycle efficiency, and reduce both manufacturing and packaging costs, the second part was an annular recuperator which could be coiled around other components of the system with integrated manifolds that lead to a more compact system.

MATERIAL

SIZE

DESIGN PROCESS

  • Developed detailed parameter sets to a heat exchanger with leak-free thin walls in Inconel down to thicknesses of 150 microns.
  • Produced samples using a variety of settings at two different locations.
  • Resulting samples were heat treated and then characterized.

RESULT

  • The first attempt at making a complete product generated an active component but resulted in a build time of seventeen days.
  • Following enhancements to the hardware and software, along with optimization of the process parameters, this was reduced to eighty hours.
  • This performance was achieved with a weight and volume approximately 30% lower than an equivalent part made by conventional methods.
  • Now that they are in production, they are regularly producing components that are usually around 40% lighter and smaller by volume than anything else on the market.
  • The lead project engineer reported that the companies are now attempting a production cycle for manufacturing commercial application parts and equipment for engineers and customers with different requirement sets.

CASE STUDY #2

PROSLAB ENSURES ABSOLUTE ACCURACY WITH ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

OVERVIEW

CHALLENGE

PART/PRODUCT

MATERIAL AND PRODUCTION PROCESS

RESULT

  • Proslab is now able to produce the most accurate frameworks possible by printing directly from a CAD file.
  • The result was a 100% reduction in the number of in-house remakes due to error.
  • Because they can ensure a perfect fit, their service and reputation have significantly improved.
  • They produce frames daily and now regularly save an entire day in processing and produce better quality removable partial dentures in half the time.
Sources
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