Many people are turning to 3D printing as a solution to a global supply chain crisis caused by labor shortages,
fluctuating demand, lockdowns,
and trade barriers.
This allows manufacturers to get parts quickly,
reducing lead times from months to days or weeks,
and allowing them to manufacture in a more sustainable,
potentially less expensive way than subtractive methods allow.
Switching to 3D printing in this manner also opens up new possibilities,
such as the creation of consolidated and lightweight parts with variable levels of infill.
when it comes to replacing discontinued components, additive manufacturing,
n conjunction with other technologies such as 3D scanning
can be used to reverse engineer,
and print new ones that would otherwise be impossible to obtain.
Hurdles to adoption
However, a significant barrier to adoption remains:
how can manufacturers be certain that their 3D-printed replacement will function exactly like the original?
While many part certification and validation products are now available on the market,
there is still a need for a solution that reduces the number of design iterations.
Concerned manufacturers are overbuilding parts in some cases by using 100% infill or a lot of reinforcement,
while in others, they are not fully utilizing 3D printing by not producing load-bearing metal builds. Qualification parameters can also be an expensive process, with firms spending excessive amounts of time and materials until they are confident that the part will perform as expected.
So, how can manufacturers avoid these concerns while remaining cost-effective? One method is to use the newly released Simulation feature for the Markforged Eiger 3D printing software
. The feature is said to enable manufacturers to expand their use of 3D printing into more demanding production applications,
by allowing users to replace the design-print-break test cycle with virtual testing.
Markforged Eiger’s Simulation
Markforged’s new Simulation offering aims to help deliver on the promise of 3D printing by allowing users to test the performance of any part before printing it.
Entering anchor, load strength, and stiffness data before clicking ‘Validate’ is all that is required to get started with the software.
This initiates a simulation that validates part performance by testing parameters.
Once this stage is completed,
users have the option of pressing another button to run additional simulations to optimize settings for time and cost without sacrificing performance.
The program accomplishes this by adjusting floor,
wall, infill, and fiber reinforcement levels,
allowing adopters to further customize their prints as desired.
Eiger’s Simulation functionality has already been adopted by 280 mph drag racer manufacturer Larsen Motorsports.
Earlier this year, the team set out to address the issue that its stock aluminium steering wheels were too small for one of its primary drivers,
Josette Roach. Larsen Motorsports was able to 3D print a continuous carbon fibre-reinforced onyx replacement to give her a better grip when steering.
Increased use in the automobile space
PUNCH Torino, a manufacturer specializing in the design and development of propulsion systems and control solutions, was another of Markforged’s Eiger Simulation beta users.
One of the primary industries served by the firm is automotive, and among its customers are some of the industry’s largest OEMs.
To assist in meeting customer engine testing requirements,
the company has established an AM Lab at its 600-person engineering centre, where it 3D prints related tooling, jigs, and prototype parts before they go into full production.