Low Volume/High Mix End-Use Parts
End-use parts, at low volume discrete manufacturing, are complex, expensive, and high precision. They also often require extra post-process to ensure the necessary high-quality finish. Advances in the printers and materials capabilities used in additive manufacturing mean the ability to print production-ready parts, which was not feasible a number of years ago. This has resulted in the use of 3D Printing beyond prototyping to advanced phases in hardware product Manufacturing.
This has multiple advantages, especially given that additive manufacturing does not require tooling, making it a faster and lower-cost method of manufacturing compared to injection molding and casting. Parts can be manufactured in days or weeks using 3D printing rather than the expensive process of mold tooling which can take months.
Ensuring Confidence in Additive Manufacturing
CASTOR’s software adds value by identifying and ensuring confidence in additive manufacturing for end-use production parts. This is achieved through the use of geometric analysis (based on minimum wall thickness and support material), choosing the right material for the specific application, performing a structural analysis (considering external loads acting upon parts) and assessing the likelihood of failure.
The benefits from additive manufacturing can be far-reaching, from fewer parts and less assembly to lighter weight and a reduction in shipping costs.
It enhances the production of parts by:
With the ability to create more complex geometries and product designs, additive manufacturing empowers the design of customized parts without the need for new machinery, molds, and other tooling.
The simplification of component parts, the customization capabilities, and the introduction of more complex component geometries allow products to be optimized for performance rather than being limited by the manufacturing capabilities using traditional methods.
Using CASTOR’s software allows parts that were designed for conventional manufacturing techniques, to leverage the nature of additive manufacturing (which enables greater geometric complexity such as curves, embedded lattices and cavities).
Decreasing Number of Parts
CASTOR’s ability to identify parts consolidation allows the production of products using fewer components, reducing complexity at the system level. This ultimately can negate the need for subassemblies, as parts can be redesigned to be manufactured as a single unit.
CASTOR identifies design optimization possibilities, such as the consolidation of adjacent parts into a single part, weight reduction opportunities and the reduction of material waste in bulky parts. This allows manufacturers to focus on developing designs that take advantage of the strengths offered by additive manufacturing, which can result in lighter, more efficient parts manufactured using 3D printing.
Additive manufacturing increases the variety of options available to produce end-use parts. While it does not offer an alternative to all machining or injection molding or casting, it does offer the potential to redesign an existing part or to produce a new one using additive manufacturing to simplify design and improve functionality.
Additive manufacturing should be considered where a part can be improved by AM design, its production cost and lead time can be reduced, and on-demand production achieved eliminating the need for storage in inventory.