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Monday, April 15, 2024

Soar to Lightspeed: Stratasys makes use of simulation software program to create light-weight aerospace elements

The lightweighting of elements is vital to introducing new sustainable plane and spacecraft sooner. 3D printed plastic elements can supply advantages on this space, lowering power use and rising the vary of recent plane. In November 2022, Stratasys introduced that it utilized simulation expertise from Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division to seize the behaviour of its ultra-lightweight Antero bolstered polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) and its additive manufacturing processes.

In response to Stratasys, the adoption of AM for structural elements has remained gradual as a result of safety-critical nature of the aerospace trade and the laws imposed on elements. Within the authentic press launch saying their partnership, Hexagon and Stratasys mentioned that by offering engineering groups the simulation instruments to validate the supplies that may obtain the required half efficiency, they’re supplying the ‘lacking hyperlink’ which can allow designers to make breakthroughs.

Foster Ferguson, International Director of Aerospace at Stratasys informed TCT: “Whenever you begin to discuss concerning the dimensional accuracy and printing to what the requirements are in search of, hitting these specs is de facto essential. No matter we’re testing, longevity, UV, warmth, fatigue, no matter, characterising that knowledge and giving it to the engineer is important. That’s why the Hexagon Digimat software program is so essential to your entire course of. We need to in a position to give confidence with the technical proof on the again finish of the print, that the tolerances have been met for the designs for the very distinctive spacecraft.”

Multi-scale fashions of Stratasys Antero 840CN03 and Antero 800NA have been added to Hexagon’s Digimat supplies trade ecosystem, with related print parameters from Stratasys’ aerospace-ready 3D printers. The fashions permit engineers to create digital twins that precisely predict how elements printed with the chosen materials and accredited aerospace-ready Stratasys printer will carry out. In response to Hexagon, the elements may be digitally simulated with real-world use-cases and certification exams earlier than any bodily prototypes are manufactured. The supplies are already being utilized in aerospace engineering, with Lockheed Martin utilizing Antero 840CN03 to create NASA’s Orion spacecraft docking hatch cowl.

Talking concerning the significance of lightweighted elements, reminiscent of those designed utilizing the simulation software program, Ferguson mentioned: “The lightweighting is essential, clearly to engineers who’re all the time in search of methods to avoid wasting kilos, each pound that you simply save in spaceflight could be very vital when it comes to gas prices. Nice facets of the supplies are that they’re very fatigue resistant, very robust, and it has electrostatic dissipative properties.”

Ferguson informed TCT about the advantages of utilizing simulation software program: “Assembly particular necessities and laws is actually one of many advantages. There are completely different laws in business journey and area journey. With area journey you’re extra involved about total issues of safety and ensuring that when this factor goes on the market it’s going to fulfill the unique design specs and necessities a buyer is asking for. Previously we’ve gone by in depth testing on our machines, printing the coupons, testing the filaments and creating a knowledge set that we will publish. We use it within the public discussion board in order that engineers can use a knowledge set and create an equivalency of their very own knowledge, based mostly on that foundational knowledge.”

Hexagon says that its Digimat software program offers producers the power to design lighter elements that may match metals in efficiency and keep away from expensive ‘overengineering’. The corporate first started working with Stratasys over a decade in the past, and in that point has characterised and added high-performance thermoplastics reminiscent of ULTEM 9085, ULTEM 9085 CG, ULTEM 1010, and Nylon12CF to the Digimat software program. In response to Ferguson and Stratasys, the power of 3D printed supplies such because the PEKKs to interchange functions that may sometimes be produced from aluminium and metal factors to rising use within the aerospace trade.

This story was first featured within the North American and European editions of TCT Journal in early 2023.

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