Designing to Add Value
The Layer by layer manufacture of components delivers design freedoms to create components that cannot be manufactured conventionally, adding value throughout the supply chains of many different industries. Here we consider the impact of Designing for Additive Manufacture to add value through improvement in function of a component and through lightweighting.
Enhanced Function and Utility
Within filtration a major operational challenge is to reduce the resistance of a filter to decrease pumping energy costs. When a filter is placed in a conduit and fluid passes through it, the fluid turns through the sides of the filter and mesh before continuing down the pipe , this creates turbulence and increases resistance and required pumping energy. Croft Filters, a sister company to Croft Additive Manufacturing, identified that if the holes of the filter were aligned to the fluid flow the resistance would decrease.
Croft tried conventional subtractive manufacturing methods to machine the aligned apertures from a billet, but accuracy was an issue, they turned to AM and created a more efficient design through DfAM. Here the apertures were spaced throughout the thin walls of the filter, resulting in elongated apertures with thin walls, an arrangement that is not achievable through conventional machining. The resistance produced by this filter design was then tested in the flow test rig in response to increasing flow rates. The filter (known as the Straightliner™ Filter) was a success, the turbulence and so resistance was reduced and so the pumping energy required was reduced by as much as 20% across all flow rates trialled (Figure 1 below)
Image of Straightliner and graph showing pressure drop.
Here the proposed aim to improve function was achieved by the Straightliner™ design containing the now aligned apertures in the thin side walls of the filter whose angle was designed to be self-building ie. without supports in the powder bed AM machine. DfAM here delivered the design change to deliver the improved function of the product. Added value here is more efficient product, decreased operation costs for end-user and decreased carbon footprint of the product over its lifespan. Here the proposed aim to improve function was achieved by the Straightliner™ design containing the now aligned apertures in the thin side walls of the filter whose angle was designed to be self-building ie. without supports in the powder bed AM machine. DfAM here delivered the design change to deliver the improved function of the product. Added value here is more efficient product, decreased operation costs for end-user and decreased carbon footprint of the product over its lifespan.
Decreasing the amount of material used per product decreases overall manufacturing waste levels as well as decreasing overall product weight. Decreased product weight adds value especially for transport eg. in the buy-to-fly ratio. DfAM can allow material removal from unnecessary areas, such as in flanges, and specialist software can determine areas for material removal through finite element analysis to reduce weight whilst retaining required areas for strength. Conventional machining of components can only remove material where accessible; in the layer by layer AM manufacturing process material can be laid in complex geometric patterns unlike those achievable by conventional processes. As a result lattice work can be incorporated within a component to decrease part weight, in addition to forming a function or be used as a feature. All of which can add value to the AM component.
Strength can also be added into the lattice work to increase the strength of components. This benefit of AM has had a significant impact on industries where weight reduction is paramount to performance for example: aerospace and motor sport.
Gaining Your Advantage
Using our expertise within metal 3D printing, Croft Additive Manufacturing specialise in utilising the benefits of AM to deliver supply chain advantages to our Customers. For more information about Croft’s services and how we could help you complete the form below: