VIDEO: Using Additive Manufacturing for Production Level Complex Parts
James Anderton posted on February 27, 2017 |
TruPrint 1000 produces parts with feature sizes as small as 100 microns.

Additive manufacturing seems to be increasingly relied upon to make small, complex parts, but is it possible to manufacture production-level complex parts?

In the video above, we explore how this could be possible with Frank Geyer, product manager for additive manufacturing at Trumpf.

The TruPrint 1000 is an example of an additive manufacturing machine capable of developing small, yet complex parts. In the video, we see small, planetary gears being laser cut.

“The planetary gears have a gap between each other of 80 microns,” said Geyer. “The smallest feature size is about 100 microns.”

The TruPrint 1000 can print parts using stainless steels, maraging steels, tool steels, Inconels, aluminum and more.

Geyer explains that several industries are already utilizing additive manufacturing past the prototype stage, using it for production applications.

In the video, Geyer shows us a couple of parts incorporating fine meshes, including a hip socket implant.

“The hip socket implant… has a very fine mesh and it’s three-dimensional, so it has a depth to it to allow bone to grow into it.” Geyer explained. “It’s also flexible, so the metal doesn’t break the bone.”

Conformal cooling has historically been an issue for small, complex components, because positioning the cooling channel a consistent distance from a cavity is difficult to accomplish using Cartesian coordinates. Additive manufacturing provides a breakthrough for cooling in injection molds, Geyer explained.

“There are a lot of service providers in full production making small inserts with conformal cooling channels, that allow the parts to cool down 30 to 35 percent quicker which drastically reduces cycle time,” Geyer said.

“In addition, design software is commercially available for the tool and die industry for designing parts for this process. This technology has gone from prototyping to full production. Industries have accepted the technology and are using it.”

For more information, watch the video above and visit the Trumpf website.

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