Simulation tools – key to achieving the target first time right

As speed is essential in many additive manufacturing related business cases, going through iterative product design cycles isn’t compatible. Simulation tools can provide key differentiators to enable the target first time right.

Through various partnerships and collaborations OCAS has put together a unique modelling tool-set which, when combined in a smart and pragmatic manner, can allow to substantially reduce the experimental work load and number of trial & error iterations required to obtain a fully functional and large scale component.  Thereby contributing to achieving the target first time right, which is crucial for additive manufacturing to establish itself as a real industrial manufacturing process.

Right functionalities

In order to assess and reap the full potential benefits of additive manufacturing technologies, OCAS co-developed a simulation approach which allows to predict the ideal microstructure for a steel component to respond to its target functionality.  In the case of additive manufacturing processes, it becomes obvious that this allows the design space much more freedom and flexibility to achieve tailor-made materials and structures. Building further upon our long history in welding research, an additional tool was co-created which is capable, starting from real-life welding parameter settings, to predict not only the weld bead geometry but also the temperature profile as well as composition for each individual location within that bead.  The output of which can afterwards be fed into yet another predictive physics-based model that calculates the local transformation behaviour without the need for any experimental material input-data.

Without residual stress

Finally, an intelligent and pragmatic combination of all these tools allows to predict and therefore also control or avoid the build-up of residual stresses in the final part which will allow to significantly reduce the amount of uncontrolled distortions and other inherent quality issues which hamper the industrial deployment of WAAM.

“Simulation tools are critical to achieving the target first time right which is crucial to establish additive manufacturing as a real industrial manufacturing process”

John Vande Voorde, Senior Research Engineer, Applications & Solutions department, OCAS