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Integrating 3D Printing In Orthopaedic Implants Manufacturing

Integrating 3D Printing In Orthopaedic Implants Manufacturing

Matt Smith, New Technologies and Process Engineer at Corin Group shares how the company has integrated 3D printing into its orthopaedic implants production. Article by Markforged. 

The human body is all different shapes and sizes so for companies who specialise in making implants, streamlining the process for handling variants is important. 

Being involved in implementing new technology and creating new processes at the same time is an exciting role for any engineer. Ask Matt Smith, New Technologies and Process Engineer at Corin Group—an orthopaedic medical device manufacturer in the UK, who is well underway with his additive manufacturing programme. Matt began his project in early 2020 with a printer justification based on several new product introductions. 

Manufacturing Challenges

Matt and the team set about the task of introducing a new ‘stem’ and ‘femur’ and decided to see what new technology was available to help them do it in a timely manner. Each time a new product is introduced to manufacturing there are a large number of associated fixtures that come with it. Being able to make these in house was a clear benefit and offered some very reasonable cost savings, so it was the obvious place to start. 

“We decided that we needed to look at additive as a means of helping us be more agile when introducing new products. We believed there were many areas where we’d benefit, however as we progressed with the project, and more colleagues got involved, we began to realise the huge potential we had,” said Matt.

As the project was getting underway the world fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic and almost overnight facilities closed, including many of the supply chain at Corin Group. Matt and the team were faced with the almost impossible task of ensuring their new project was still delivered on time, whilst having to work with no raw materials, no sub-contract manufacturing and limited internal resources. As they sat and mused over the creation of all the machining and inspection fixtures required, for the 48 variants of their new stem, and 24 variants of femur they quickly identified a new challenge, their raw material deliveries of forgings and castings would also be delayed. Without the raw material it would be impossible to even test the developed fixturing. 

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How 3D Printing Is Transforming The Medical Industry

How 3D Printing Is Transforming The Medical Industry

3D printing is transforming the medical industry in many ways, but more importantly, it’s helping improve patient outcomes, improve economics and provide new opportunities for learning. Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) spoke to Mitchell Beness, Head of HP 3D Print GTM APJ on the impact of 3D printing and its outlook in Southeast Asia.

How is additive manufacturing transforming the medical industry?

Mitchell Beness (MD): Whether it’s to produce anatomical models, medical instruments and equipment or personalised medical aids such as orthotics and prosthetics, 3D printing has helped improve patient comfort and outcomes. 

Today, advanced 3D printing capabilities provide essential equipment and key insights to help educate and prepare care givers as well as patients. For example, HP Metal Jet technology enables production of high-quality surgical tools such as surgical scissors and endoscopic surgical jaws, and new applications and geometries not possible with conventional metal fabrication technologies. In addition, HP Multi Jet Fusion can provide doctors and surgeons with rich, detailed models, which makes it easier for doctors to differentiate tiny details such as veins and arteries when practicing the procedures as well as countless other medical, health and wellness applications.

In prosthetics and orthotics, 3D printing has helped both patients and businesses improve patient outcomes by producing complex, custom designs. 

The impact of 3D printing can also be seen in the recent COVID-19 pandemic, where global supply chains were upended like never before – hospitals were facing a lack of critical life-or death resources. For many, 3D printing was brought to their lives for the first time – with many of their introduction to 3D printing was via personal protective equipment (PPE) or testing equipment, like face shields or nasal swabs. 

3D printing is transforming the medical industry in many ways, but more importantly, it’s helping improve patient outcomes, improve economics and provide new opportunities for learning. 

What are the benefits of 3D printing in the medical industry?

MD: Advances in the 3D printing industry have enabled the industry to make any idea, large or small, simple or complex a reality. HP’s 3D printing solutions enable innovative designs and the production of high quality, cost effective personalised products.

We collaborate with various partners and customers to produce strong high-quality parts that are production ready. HP’s advanced industrial capabilities enable customers to reliably move designs from prototype to mass production. The COVID-19 response was a clear example on how the community came together from prototyping to quickly deploying solutions to first responders on the ground with face shields, masks, testing swabs and more. We also work with industry leaders such as Everex, an engineering company that creates unique and technologically advanced products for the needs of their customers in the medical industry. With the HP Multi Jet Fusion technology, Everex wanted to design a new type of instrument from their device, Hemo One that is used to analyse samples of blood. The Hemo One was previously produced using traditional methods but Everex wanted a design that would be easier to assemble with an eye on reducing cost. 

How has additive manufacturing helped in the fight against the pandemic? What are some innovations?

MD: Additive Manufacturing has definitely played its role in the fight against the pandemic, especially in helping plug the gaps in supply chain for personal protective equipment. At the start of the pandemic, HP mobilised a global effort to design and manufacture products that could be 3D printed to support frontliners and healthcare workers. We started working with employees across the company as well as customers to start sourcing designs and print parts that will help with COVID-19 efforts. 

As of May last year, HP together with our partners and clients has printed and shipped over 5 million 3D-printed parts for ventilators, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) respirators, face shields, masks and other personal accessories. Together with our partners, we’ve also made these 3D printable designs freely available to the community.

All in all, the industry has definitely stepped up to meet the demands of the pandemic through continuous knowledge sharing, plugging the supply chain gap, and working with government agencies and health experts in determining parts most in need. 

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Why Open-source 3D Printing Is The New Norm

Why Open-source 3D Printing Is The New Norm

Open systems are the future. The open concept will enable the pioneering of new applications and solutions in the aerospace industry and more. Article by MahaChem. 

For decades, most 3D printers adopt a closed system—where the user is restricted to the manufacturer’s resins. Economically, this means that chances are, the material is costlier as the manufacturer has the bargaining power over the user, who is restricted to their material offerings. For the same reason, it could also mean that users are unable to create something that is eco-friendly, unless the material is certified to be so. 

But most importantly, this limits the creativity of the individual to come up with a product with the best design paired with the ideal material. Of course, closed source printers aren’t all that bad, they ensure that the quality of the end product is up to standard, by ensuring that their materials are of quality.

However, with the invention of the open-source 3D printing technology, the woes of product designers have been resolved. The designer now has the power to choose any material from any supplier based on their personal preferences. Want a cheaper material? Find an economical supplier. Want an environmentally friendly product? Find a supplier with green or eco-friendly resins or filament. Want a malleable product? Find a soft polymer supplier. 

All in all, this means that designers are free to create whatever they have in their imagination. This has become a new norm over the years as more and more designers search for alternatives from closed-source printers to bring their imagination to life. As such, over the years there has been a surge in open-sourced 3D printers, particularly desktop ones, to meet the needs of the users.

Why is it Important for the Aerospace Industry?

3D printing has become especially important in the aerospace industry to address challenges like production time, cost of production and carbon emission. For example, it can produce lighter parts while maintaining strength, which reduces the aircraft’s overall weight, hence lowering its fuel consumption. This in turn, cuts operational costs and lowers carbon dioxide emission. Here are other benefits of 3D printing for the aerospace industry: 

Precision 

Surface finishing is critical in the aerospace industry. 3D printing parts can be post-processed to a very high precision. Technologies like Material Jetting are able to produce parts with smooth, injection moulding like surface finishing with little post processing needed. While Selective Laser Melting (SLM) is able to produce high performance metal parts. 

Materials That Are Licensed 

Currently, there are many qualified materials used in producing parts in the aerospace industries, depending on the technology. In SLM, Aluminium or Titanium are mainly used. Examples of parts printing with SLM are the suspension wishbone and the Jet engine. While in Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Nylon is the preferred material. Examples of parts printed with SLS include Air flow ducting and Tarmac nozzle bezel. Other technologies include Stereolithography (SLA) and Material Jetting, which uses Resin to produce parts such as Entry doors, brackets, and door handles.

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Driving Hard On The Race Track: Wear-Resistant Iglidur Gears In The Gearbox

Driving Hard On The Race Track: Wear-Resistant iglidur Gears In The Gearbox

The iglidur I6 gears from the 3D printer for car racing of the “Youth Discovers Technology” (Jugend entdeckt Technik – JET) challenge

Electromobility is a crucial topic of the future. For Germany to be in the pole position, it is important to inspire young minds to take up scientific and engineering professions. Towards this purpose, the annual JET Challenge takes place at the IdeenExpo in Hanover. Students are given the task of building a fast, tough and energy-efficient racing car from a standard, remote-controlled car with a limited budget. Wear-resistant 3D-printed gears from igus made from the high-performance plastic iglidur I6 helped in this endeavour.

Build a fast, energy-saving racing car from an ordinary, remote-controlled car and overtake all other teams in a race – that’s the goal of the “Youth Discovers Technology” (Jugend entdeckt Technik – JET) Challenge, organised by the Society of German Engineers (Verein Deutscher Ingenieure – VDI) and the University of Hanover (Hochschule Hannover – HSH). As with the renowned models, the key factor is not speed alone, but also energy efficiency. In June 2019, visitors to the IdeenExpo can see the JET Challenge in action at the HSH trade fair stand. 25 teams compete for victory with their racing cars on a 1:10 scale on a 20-metre race track. The rules are strict. Available to each team is a budget of just 50 euros. Apart from battery, motor and speed controller, all components must be purchased, developed or built by yourself.

Save money with the igus 3D printing service

The teams are currently preparing for the next IdeenExpo. Students of the Eugen Reintjes vocational school are relying on a wear-resistant and tough gear transmission to enhance the performance of their race car. The biggest difficulty with this gearbox was the gear procurement. Due to the small budget, the students couldn’t afford big innovations. Finally, they found what they were looking for at the motion plastics specialist igus in Cologne: cost-effective, low-wear gears from the SLS printer. After a simple online configuration, the gears were printed and provided, made from the high-performance plastic iglidur I6.

High performance plastic makes race cars tough

Laboratory tests prove that the material I6 is significantly tougher than other plastics. In an experiment at our in-house test laboratory, the engineers tested gears made of polyoxymethylene (POM) and iglidur I6 at 12 revolutions per minute and loaded with 5Nm. A machined gear made of POM failed after 621,000 revolutions, while iglidur I6 was still in very good condition after one million revolutions. Thus, the team does not have to worry about potential failures. The gears in the racing car have already successfully completed an initial test run. The car is energy efficient and still reaches the top speed of 60km/h.

The young engineers support from igus promotes innovative projects

Innovative projects such as the race car gears for the JET Challenge are supported by igus as part of the young engineers support. The initiative supports young pupils, students and inventors in the development and execution of their technical projects.

 

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New Opportunities For Aerospace With DED 3D Printing Technology

New Opportunities For Aerospace With DED 3D Printing Technology

5-axis DED 3D printing is opening new possibilities and finding its own niche in the manufacturing industries. ModuleWorks deep dives into its software technology and the applications. 

Directed Energy Deposition (DED) refers to any additive manufacturing process that uses a focused energy source, such as a plasma arc, laser or electron beam to melt and deposit material from a nozzle onto a surface. 

5-axis DED technology is opening new possibilities and finding its own niche in the manufacturing industries. The aerospace industry, for example, relies on DED for cost-effective repair of moulds and turbine blades, and tool makers use DED for manufacturing and repairing sheet metal forming tools. 

Here, ModuleWorks provides an insight into the software technology (toolpath generation, simulation and post processing) that is making DED an increasingly attractive manufacturing option and shares how the technology opens new production possibilities.

Understanding the Software Technology

Multi-Axis Tool Path Generation

Like other CAM techniques, DED uses sophisticated tool path calculation algorithms to generate efficient, collision-free machining operations from the initial CAD or mesh data. Taking a free-form machining surface as input, the volume is generated and divided into 3D slices according to the desired layer thickness. Tool paths within the layers are generated using path patterns which can be defined by path curves, intersections of guide surfaces or by automatically generated center axes. 

Propagation of the weld pool layers can be controlled by various sorting parameters. Further parameters optimise the tool path accuracy, point distribution and orientation of the laser head [CIRP Vol. 68/1, 2019, pp. 447 – 450]. The combination of the individual additive paths and the layers is automatically collision-free.

Additional features assist operators with both complex and everyday manufacturing tasks:

  • Path planning on scanned data
  • Orientation along wall structures to print areas with large overhangs
  • Fixed 6th axis to keep the orientation of the nozzle in the direction of movement for WAAM applications
  • Buildup of arbitrary curved shapes such as tube geometries

DED tool path generation software combines these features and takes the operator-defined parameters to automatically generate an additive toolpath optimised for DED manufacturing.

 

Multi-Axis Additive Simulation

Machine simulation is essential for catching collisions and other potential machining problems that would otherwise halt production and require operators to adjust the machining process (e.g. to redefine the workpiece zero point or reset the machine modules). Using an integrated machine simulation prevents this expensive downtime by detecting and avoiding collisions before they occur. Collisions between the part and print head, as well as printing errors, can be predicted and avoided.

DED simulation allows operators to define the shape of the tool (powder nozzle, laser) for each simulation job, and the operator-defined test points ensure a robust in-process model for the machine simulation which can be used for subsequent simulation steps. The simulation also checks for collisions between machine components, clamping devices and the in-process state of the workpiece.

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Advancing MRO Solutions With Additive Manufacturing

Advancing MRO Solutions With Additive Manufacturing

ST Engineering and EOS have collaborated to introduce multiple AM solutions for the aerospace sector—from qualified systems and materials to 3D print certified parts that are more durable and more effective in operations.

ST Engineering’s Aerospace sector has been building its portfolio in virtual inventory to enhance customers’ air operation performance, including solutions for commonly damaged aircraft components. Printing on demand helps eliminate waste when platforms are retired, reducing non-moving inventory. In addition, with approved digital files and qualified 3D printers & processes, certified parts can be produced close to aircraft sites, vastly reducing delivery-related carbon emissions and improving cost efficiencies.

Confident that additive manufacturing (AM) is the way forward, the company collaborates with technology partners and like-minded airline customers to develop multiple AM solutions. Here, ST Engineering shares how they successfully broadened and deepened their capabilities for AM solutions. 

Overcoming Challenges

Back in 2018, ST Engineering already had plans to expand their AM capabilities from Filament Layer Manufacturing (FLM) technologies to include Laser Powder Bed (LPB) technologies- covering the two processes of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Direct Metal Laser Solidification (DMLS) – so as to offer a wider range of additive manufacturing solutions to customers. 

Originally, it only had Design Organisation Approval (DOA) and Production Organisation Approval (POA) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for FLM technology. For the LPB technologies, the plan was to build in-house capabilities in managing and qualifying the systems, materials and processes, which would in turn open more application potential to produce AM aircraft parts. 

As a new adopter of LPB AM technologies, ST Engineering decided to collaborate with EOS, one of the industry’s pioneering leaders specialising in LPB AM systems, to jumpstart their learning curve in understanding the possibilities and limitations of both SLS and DMLS processes.

AM Solution

By the end of 2018, ST Engineering and EOS’ consulting arm, Additive Minds, established an Additive Manufacturing Capability Transfer program. The program comprised customised training and consulting workshops that aimed to build strong fundamentals among attendees in the following topics: parts screening and selection, design for AM, business case analysis, and introduction on critical-to-quality requirements for AM processes.

After the Capability Transfer Program, ST Engineering selected a load-bearing cabin interior assembly with no impact on flight safety from their converted freighter aircraft as a benchmark to kickstart their adoption journey with both SLS and DMLS technologies. 

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Growing Possibilities Of 3D Printing In The Aerospace Industry

Growing Possibilities Of 3D Printing In The Aerospace Industry

Selective Laser Melting offers a wide range of possibilities in the 3D Printing of metal-based parts. Using a rocket engine, CellCore looks into the possibilities that SLM technology can offer for the aerospace industry. Article by SLM Solutions. 

Selective Laser Melting (SLM) offers a wide range of possibilities in the additive manufacturing of metal-based parts. Additive manufacturing allows metal parts to be created with internal structures allowing the part to be stronger and lighter than if it were produced through traditional manufacturing methods. A further advantage is in the integration of several components in one component. This functional integration and a low post-processing effort lead to considerable cost savings in the manufacturing process. 

Using a rocket engine, the company CellCore has demonstrated the advantages of selective laser melting and how it can be optimally utilised in the aerospace industry. Printed in a nickel-based superalloy, a monolithic component was created in collaboration with SLM Solutions. 

3D-printed Rocket Engine

The demonstrator manufactured by CellCore and SLM Solutions consists of a thrust chamber, the core element of a liquid-propellant engine with a combustion chamber wall, a fuel inlet, and an injection head with oxidant inlet. The chemical reaction in the combustion chamber creates a gas that expands due to heat development and is then ejected with enormous force. The thrust required to drive the rocket is therefore created using recoil. Extremely high temperatures are created in the chamber during the combustion process, so the wall must be cooled to prevent it from burning, too. To achieve this, the liquid fuel (e.g. kerosene or hydrogen) is fed upwards through cooling ducts in the combustion chamber wall before entering through the injection head. There, the fuel mixes with the oxidant and is lit by a spark plug. In conventional constructions, the cooling ducts are countersunk in a blank and subsequently sealed through multiple working steps. 

With selective laser melting, the cooling is integrated as part of the design and created together with the chamber in one process. Due to the engine‘s complexity, the traditional manufacturing process is cost-intensive, requiring half a year minimum. Additive manufacturing on the other hand, requires fewer than five working days to create an improved component.

Filigree Structural Cooling to Increase Efficiency

The single-piece rocket propulsion engine, combining the injector and thrust chamber, reduces numerous individual components into one, with multi-functional lightweight construction achievable only with the selective laser melting process. 

The internal structure developed by CellCore is the fundamental element of the engine and cannot be manufactured by traditional methods. It is not only suited to transport heat, but also improves the structural stability of the component. The cooling properties of the CellCore design considerably outperform conventional approaches, such as right-angled, concentrically running cooling ducts.

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Driving Hard On The Race Track: Wear-Resistant Iglidur Gears In The Gearbox

Driving Hard On The Race Track: Wear-Resistant iglidur Gears In The Gearbox

The iglidur I6 gears from the 3D printer for car racing of the “Youth Discovers Technology” (Jugend entdeckt Technik – JET) challenge

Electromobility is a crucial topic of the future. For Germany to be in the pole position, it is important to inspire young minds to take up scientific and engineering professions. Towards this purpose, the annual JET Challenge takes place at the IdeenExpo in Hanover. Students are given the task of building a fast, tough and energy-efficient racing car from a standard, remote-controlled car with a limited budget. Wear-resistant 3D-printed gears from igus made from the high-performance plastic iglidur I6 helped in this endeavour.

Build a fast, energy-saving racing car from an ordinary, remote-controlled car and overtake all other teams in a race – that’s the goal of the “Youth Discovers Technology” (Jugend entdeckt Technik – JET) Challenge, organised by the Society of German Engineers (Verein Deutscher Ingenieure – VDI) and the University of Hanover (Hochschule Hannover – HSH). As with the renowned models, the key factor is not speed alone, but also energy efficiency. In June 2019, visitors to the IdeenExpo can see the JET Challenge in action at the HSH trade fair stand. 25 teams compete for victory with their racing cars on a 1:10 scale on a 20-metre race track. The rules are strict. Available to each team is a budget of just 50 euros. Apart from battery, motor and speed controller, all components must be purchased, developed or built by yourself.

Save money with the igus 3D printing service

The teams are currently preparing for the next IdeenExpo. Students of the Eugen Reintjes vocational school are relying on a wear-resistant and tough gear transmission to enhance the performance of their race car. The biggest difficulty with this gearbox was the gear procurement. Due to the small budget, the students couldn’t afford big innovations. Finally, they found what they were looking for at the motion plastics specialist igus in Cologne: cost-effective, low-wear gears from the SLS printer. After a simple online configuration, the gears were printed and provided, made from the high-performance plastic iglidur I6.

High performance plastic makes race cars tough

Laboratory tests prove that the material I6 is significantly tougher than other plastics. In an experiment at our in-house test laboratory, the engineers tested gears made of polyoxymethylene (POM) and iglidur I6 at 12 revolutions per minute and loaded with 5Nm. A machined gear made of POM failed after 621,000 revolutions, while iglidur I6 was still in very good condition after one million revolutions. Thus, the team does not have to worry about potential failures. The gears in the racing car have already successfully completed an initial test run. The car is energy efficient and still reaches the top speed of 60km/h.

The young engineers support from igus promotes innovative projects

Innovative projects such as the race car gears for the JET Challenge are supported by igus as part of the young engineers support. The initiative supports young pupils, students and inventors in the development and execution of their technical projects. Further information on yes can be found at http://www.igus.sg/yes.

 

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3D Printing The Future Of E-Mobility Tools

3D Printing the Future of E-Mobility Tools

Kennametal’s 3D printed stator bore tool meets accuracy, roundness, and surface finish requirements of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Kennametal has developed a 3D printed stator bore tool specifically designed to meet growing customer demand for lighter weight tooling solutions used to machine components for hybrid and electric vehicles.

E-mobility components are typically machined on smaller, low horsepower CNC machining centres that require lighter weight tooling solutions. Kennametal’s 3D printed stator bore tool weighs half that of the conventionally manufactured version, while still meeting accuracy, roundness, and surface finish requirements for aluminium motor body boring.

“The main bore, which houses the stator of an electric motor measures approximately 250 mm in diameter (9.84 in) and approximately 400 mm (15.74 in) in length, with a smaller bearing bore at the bottom,” says Harald Bruetting, Manager, Program Engineering, at Kennametal. “When manufactured using conventional means, a reamer for this type of application would weigh more than 25 kg (55 lb), far too heavy for the existing machine tool or for an operator working with the tool.”

Bruetting and Kennametal’s Solution Engineering Group turned to the company’s in-house additive manufacturing capabilities to 3D-print a strong but lightweight indexable tool, equipped with proven Kennametal technologies including fine adjustable RIQ reaming inserts for high precision finishing and a KM4X adaptor for maximum rigidity. The tool also features internal 3D printed cooling channels that help maximize productivity and tool life.

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3D Printing Solutions For The Automotive Industry

3D Printing Solutions for the Automotive Industry

SLM Solutions looks back on years of experience in 3D printing solutions for the automotive industry. But what does it take to successfully print automotive parts? And what are the main use cases?

Metal additive manufacturing technology is accelerating industrial development in the automotive sector and offers numerous advantages. On the one hand, scalable on-demand local-for-local supply chains can get products to market faster and reduce costs. On the other hand, additive manufacturing can lead to improved performance and functionality of parts.

Selective laser melting (SLM) can be used primarily to bridge the gap between prototyping and series production. Pioneer and metal additive manufacturing partner SLM Solutions looks back on years of experience in 3D printing solutions for the automotive industry. But what does it take to successfully print automotive parts? And what are the main use cases?

Robust Machines and Material

To successfully print parts, robust and reliable machines are required. SLM Solutions’ SLM 500 offers excellent features for industrial series production in the automotive industry. As the first quad-laser system on the market, the machine is ideally suited for the rapid cost-effective production of large metal parts. The multi-laser overlap strategy with up to four 700 W lasers ensures maximum efficiency. The ability to change the build cylinder minimizes machine downtime, maximizes productivity and reduces cost per part. 

Equally important is the right choice of metal powder. SLM Solutions offers various alloys, for example, aluminium alloys, nickel alloys, and titanium alloys, that ideally fit to the requirements of the automotive industry. Furthermore, SLM Solutions develops new materials and parameters with customers. 

Another technology from SLM is the NXG XII 600. Equipped with 12 overlapping 1 kW lasers and a build envelope of 600x600x600 mm, the machine sets new milestones in terms of productivity, size, reliability and safety, and paves the way to the future of manufacturing. Productivity is further enhanced through variable beam spot, bi-directional recoating, laser balance and an optimized gas flow while a closed environment maximizes operator safety.

One company that has already tested the productivity of the NXG XII 600 is Porsche. The Porsche advanced powertrain engineering department also focuses on large powertrain applications, such as e-drive housings, cylinder blocks, and cylinder heads, to name a few, in additive manufacturing. In a proof of concept with the SLM  NXG XII 600, a complete e-drive housing with an innovative AM design was successfully printed. Porsche sets high quality demands on the part: A permanent magnet motor with 800 V operating voltage delivers up to 205 kW (280 hp). The downstream two-stage transmission is integrated in the same housing and drives the wheels with up to 2,100 N-m of torque. This highly integrated approach is designed for use on the front axle of a sports car.

All the advantages of additive manufacturing have been implemented in this housing, such as topology optimization with lattice structures to reduce the weight, functional integration of cooling channels, higher stiffness and reduced assembly time by the integration of parts as well as improvements in part quality.

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