AddUp, an industrial additive manufacturing OEM based in France, was established three years ago by industrial groups Michelin and Fives as a joint venture company focused on metal 3D printing. It offers several 3D printing methods, including powder bed fusion and Directed Energy Deposition. Now AddUp, which added to its portfolio with the acquisition of Poly-Shape, is strengthening its collaboration with fellow French company ESI Group, a virtual prototyping pioneer and material physics specialist. Together, the two designed Distortion Simulation AddOn, an ergonomic simulation module specifically for use with metal 3D printed parts.
“With this simulation technology we can help our customers improve their operational efficiencies and responsiveness by significantly increasing the number of first-time-right parts,” said Vincent Ferreiro, the CEO of AddUp. “Thanks to its accessibility and requiring only a very short learning curve, Distortion Simulation AddOn will appeal to a wide range of users. This tool will help them maximise the potential of our FormUp machines.”
In the past, conventional production validation has meant assessing a part’s conformity after it’s fabricated, which requires several feedback loops and can spread discontinuity across the digital chain. This slows down 3D printing, can inhibit using it in manufacturing and is costly. In order to increase production while decreasing time, manufacturers need to learn to optimize process parameters, and 3D printing can definitely help with this, which we’ve seen multiple times as the technology continues to become industrialized.
To improve competitiveness, simulation based on material physics is key, as it can provide users with a more in-depth understanding of material behavior and processes. The newly developed Distortion Simulation AddOn module will be able to increase the multiple functionalities available through AddUp’s 3D printing design and management software AddUp Manager.
The module provides production continuity by directly integrating simulation in the beginning stages of the 3D printing process. With an intuitive interface that can slice and generate laser scan paths and define laser melt patterns, AddUp Manager is the perfect place – especially for non-experts – to establish simulation parameters.
AddUp and ESI Group combined their various expertise and knowledge, which will help both build up competitive strengths for the future. Thanks to this continued collaboration, ESI Group can reinforce the simulation of machine behavior in metal 3D printing, while AddUp will improve its knowledge of industrial processes and make its software packages even more powerful.
“The complementary nature of our teams and our fields of expertise, backed up by our collaboration in the SOFIA project, has enabled us to develop an industrial solution that delivers performance, predictability and competitiveness while continuing to implement innovative production methods such as additive manufacturing,” said Vincent Chaillou, the COO of ESI Group.
SOFIA, which stands for Solution pour la Fabrication Industrielle Additive métallique (Industrial Metal Additive Manufacturing Solution), was founded and sponsored by AddUp, ESI Group, and Bpifrance, as they all share a common vision of metal 3D printing.
The Distortion Simulation AddOn process is based on a series of simple, guided steps, and the results make it possible to correlate the physical characteristics of strains, residual stresses, parts, and displacements with the feasibility criteria that’s calculated, according to AddUp, upstream of production. Since users can anticipate collisions and other problems ahead of time, they can then take more risks when it comes to production downtime.
Once the process is completed, the module generates a modified geometry, which can be exported in an STL file format. Users can ensure geometrically compliant production of parts, thanks to the predicted deformations that show up during simulation, and the module’s level of detail can be configured based on a customer’s specific needs, be it verifying small series or optimizing industrial production. It really does seem that AddUp is creating a French 3D printing champion with a broad and deep portfolio.
The Distortion Simulation AddOn module will be available this spring.