3D printing to improve efficiency of race-cars, drones, and manufacturing processes

3D printing is a buzzword among almost every sector that needs parts and improved efficiency. From automotive sector to aerospace sector, every sector has been innovating with and experimenting with 3D printing to reap benefits and find new possibilities. Racing team of the Brunel University collaborated with leading additive manufacturing firm to produce a manifold part for its racing car and improve efficiency. A 3D model-based work instruction has been created to reduce waste and save millions of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). Moreover, a system of dampers for drone’s autopilot has been produced by collaboration of an aerospace R&D team from the University of Pisa and Italian 3D printing firm. The demand for 3D printing applications is hitting the roof. According to the research firm Allied Market Research, the global 3D printing market is estimated to reach $44.39 billion by 2025. Following are some of the steps taken by various organizations across the world to improve efficiency with 3D printing:

3D printing to enhance efficiency for racecars:

As 3D printing has been emerging for innovative applications and offering surprising benefits, one of the influential benefits is its application in racecars. Renishaw, a U.K.-based additive manufacturing firm, provided support for racing team of the Brunel University in London for its Formula Student (FS) competition. It produced a 3D-printed manifold part that was featured on the BR-XX racing car. Before the support from Renishaw, the university team produced manifolds using aluminum and carbon fiber. However, there were limitations due to design geography. To fulfill the need of improved efficiency, Brunel Racing team collaborated with Renishaw and provided the firm an original design geometry for its manifold part. Both of them worked on optimizing the part with Renishaw’s RenAM 500Q AM system. The part was split into smaller assemblies and the areas to eliminate overhangs were found. According to Matthew Crouch, a Mechanical Engineering student and one of the managers of the Brunel Racing team, Renishaw’s expertise on designing of the part with additive manufacturing was invaluable. The overhangs must not be over 55° from the vertical axis of both overhangs. Moreover, there should be smooth transitions with cross sectional thickness for each part. With advent of additive manufacturing in many motorsport competitions, student engineers have been utilizing the same process.

New 3D model-based work instruction to save millions of DoE:

3D printing can be utilized innovatively for reducing waste and saving millions by the government organizations. The Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) utilizes 3D printing for gaining manufacturing speed and productivity. It has partnered with Sandia National Laboratories. Engineers from Honeywell have been integrating algorithms and 3D simulations for optimizing designs and manufacturing 3D printed machine parts. When 2D model and 3D printed model were compared, there was 15% scrap reduction in 3D printed model. If 3D printed model can be utilized, there would be significant reduction in waste and millions of dollars can be saved by DoE. Sandia’s excellence in code development and application of simulation by KCNSC have been used for improvement of manufacturing process. Engineers from Honeywell use the physics-based tools for simulation of production operations. Optimal structure, weight, and rigidity are parameters that can be identified before building a prototype.

A number of foam parts have been produced by Honeywell engineers. With complex chemical make-up and processing procedures, foam parts provide low production yields, and utilized for impact resistance.  The KCNSC and Sandia team collaborated to determine to a way prediction of the expansion of polyurethane foam in an enclosure. This was essential in raising the capacity at which it can be produced. Then a 3D model-based work instruction predicting fill behavior for each component was created. This has been utilized for over 400 times at the KCNSC. It resulted in development of a rapid development schedule and physical prototypes.

3D printing to improve efficiency of parts of drones:

Drones are becoming vital with their increased applications in military, surveillance, aerospace, and other industries. SkyBox Engineering, an aerospace R&D team from the University of Pisa joined hands with Italian 3D printing firm Roboze for manufacturing parts of drones. With the help of FFF Roboze 3D printer, SkyBox manufactured produced a system of dampers for drone’s autopilot. This eliminates the vibrations of high frequency produced by motors. This system was manufactured with the help of carbon fiber-filled polyamide (Carbon PA) material. These 3D printed parts could achieve a considerable reduction in time and weight for SkyBox in comparison to the traditional manufacturing methods. Vincenzo Binante, an Engineer at SkyBox, outlined that the vital goal of the team was to reduce the weights and obstacles in the parts that are placed on drones as well as aero models. This presented a possibility to produce functional parts that are complex in shape. Roboze’s patented Beltless system and Carbon PA material were utilized for manufacturing composite drone parts of reduced weight.

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