Editor’s Pick: Get Metal 3D Parts Right the First Time

The ESI Group's new solution suite could help process and manufacturing engineering departments as well as 3D printing bureaus shorten time frames and lower costs.

The ESI Group's new solution suite could help process and manufacturing engineering departments as well as 3D printing bureaus shorten time frames and lower costs.

This nacelle hinge was 3D manufactured using a using powder bed fusion process. Image supplied by ESI Group and courtesy of Bombardier Aerostructures & Engineering Services / AMAZE FP7.

Dear DE Reader:

2018 will likely be looked upon as the year metal additive manufacturing hit its tipping point. The big doings just keep coming: New systems and materials, packed trade shows and so on. All of which validates that AM technology as a peer on the traditional shop floor as well as a business differentiator is no longer coming on strong. It's here to stay. Today's Editor's Pick of the Week represents metal AM's burgeoning industry of what you could call “Tier One” AM design and analysis software developers.


In terms of marketing launch buzz, the unveiling of the ESI Additive Manufacturing simulation suite for metal AM development at the recent Formnext trade show may have been understated. But there's no minimizing it—this is a big deal. With its 20 some years developing analysis and virtual prototyping solutions for casting, sheet metal forming and welding, ESI Group knows material physics, heat transfer, residual stresses, manufacturing processes and making coupled multiphysics analyses work.

The suite's overall goal is to help you get the right 3D prints on your first try. That includes precise material performance levels required for certification or qualification in regulated industries. The suite should help accelerate AM part development and lower development costs by virtually eliminating hardware prototype expenses. Broadly, this all means an unbroken data flow from concept to manufacturing and on through certification.

The ESI Additive Manufacturing suite appears focused on helping you understand and control the complex relationships between material quality, part design and 3D printing processes quickly and thoroughly. At a workstation or on the shop floor, you should be able to determine such factors as optimal orientation and support strategies to predict part integrity, understand part distortion and discover optimal material densities.

Currently, the suite offers analysis and simulation modules for powder coating, melt pool shape and dimensions, consolidated material porosity and surface roughness. Additional modules provide toolsets for dealing with thermal history as a function of deposition strategy, residual stresses and distortion during the build process and after release. There's also a process window pre-scanning tool. ESI Group says that future enhancements will allow for chaining capabilities for post 3D printing operations like advanced heat treatment and machining.

You can learn more about the ESI Additive Manufacturing suite in today's main write-up. The best way to learn about it is to hit the link at the end to sign up for a trial. Good stuff.

Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, DE

P.S. Check out these cool animated additive manufacturing simulations of powder bed fusion and powder melting.

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About the Author

Anthony J. Lockwood's avatar
Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering’s founding editor. He is now retired. Contact him via [email protected].

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