There are three key design strategies that are beneficial for pieces that are manufactured additively, especially when printed on metal. These three are: reducing the weight of the pieces, integrating characteristics that are difficult, if not impossible, to perform conventionally, and finally, reducing the count of pieces. Though part count reduction is a specific design methodology, it is most successful when it incorporates all three design methodologies at the same time.
Part Count Reduction, o PCR, which uses additive manufacturing, is a new design approach that offers a single, optimized, monolithic part that replaces an existing multi-component assembly.
Research, testing and repeated implementations have consistently shown that with the right design methodology, these unique and consolidated parts can provide significant performance improvements, reduce overall product weight, improve part and product life, be manufactured more cost-effectively and considerably faster than traditional methods, but with more complexity and functionality.
While these benefits listed above are a great start, PCR can offer additional commercial advantages that are not always immediately apparent.
The part count reduction eliminates the process assembly. When it does, the bottom line of the business can see immediate improvements:
- Reduction of total production times
- Improved tolerances and eradication of stacking of tolerances
- Reduced labor cost associated with assembly work
- Lower overall material costs
- Reduced risk of assembly errors
- Less inventory and parts ‘in compartments
- Reduced need for assembly accessories
- Potentially reduced part costs
- smile-machined-injector-metal-3d-additive manufacture
When you have a consolidated part, the top line of your business can improve due to:
- A better part that meets the needs of the customer
- More efficient and functional design
- A smoother supply chain
- A more agile manufacturing process
- Faster product, marketing time and profits
Here’s a great example: We recently researched a better escape design for a client. In the picture below, you will see the approximately 20 pieces of sheet metal required for welding, including numerous hydroformed components, each of which requires individual tools.
A la derecha está el tubo de escape único y consolidado producido con impresión 3D de metal.
This piece was printed in just 23 hours using 23 grade titanium material, compared to the additional 3 weeks it would traditionally take to produce it. The design time for this part was reduced from 6 weeks to 6 days. With additive technology there is no need for tools, accessories, multiple welding and even some inspections are dispensable.
Geometry optimization reduced the amount of material required while helping to maximize performance. All elements of the original exhaust pipe are incorporated into the new design and when printed to a typical wall thickness of 0.5mm, it is approximately 25% lighter than the original manufactured exhaust.
Do you want to know more?
Understanding and implementing these new design methodologies can be challenging. For more information, you can sign up for the piece count reduction webinar, where our experts will give you new ideas on how you can change your design strategies.
The webinar is organized by 3D Systems for next August 7, enrollments on the following link
Article created by Colin Blain, Advanced Applications in 3D Systems
CT Advanced Manufacturing