e-Xstream Engineering Enables Manufacturers to Weigh Up Production Cost of Composite 3D Printing

February 01 (2021

e-Xstream engineering, part of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, has introduced new simulation and virtual manufacturing capabilities that enable users to analyze the production cost of polymer-based additive manufacturing parts against conventional processes, and continuously improve their virtual engineering processes by validating the composite’s microstructure with CT scans of manufactured parts.

The latest Digimat software enables businesses to simulate the 3D printing process and calculate the total cost of producing each part including the material utilization, employee time, energy, and the required post-processing steps.

Using this new tool, an engineer can take a holistic view of part production and finishing processes to determine the best process chain for production. Crucially, it can also be used to perform batch optimizations to print as many parts as possible in parallel, increasing production capacity and reducing lead time. It can also be used in production planning, to consider the total cost of ownership of machines and amortize those costs over the projected production volumes. This information is visualized for the user through plots and pie charts, so the cost breakdown can be easily analyzed for different scenarios.

When producing high performance structures such as aerospace components from composites, the Progressive Failure Analysis (PFA) model makes it possible to define safety margins for a structure and make optimal use of the expensive materials and processes. The latest version of Digimat performs these complex Camanho model analyses twice as fast, making it possible to perform a parametric study to define defect tolerances and maximize production yields.

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