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Formlabs Live Webinar: Significantly Reduce Your Injection Moulding Tooling Costs With In-House 3D Printed Moulds

Formlabs Live Webinar: Significantly Reduce Your Injection Moulding Tooling Costs With In-House 3D Printed Moulds

Injection molding requires high initial investment, specialist equipment and lead time for tooling, this can significantly hinder the speed and cost to introduce new products to the market. 3D printing technology offers a cost-cutting, agile solution to quickly design and fabricate molds for small runs of thermoplastics prototypes or end-use parts.

Join Formlabs in a live webinar on 2nd February 2021, 2pm SGT which will discuss how 3D printing can unlock in-demand mold fabrication to generate hundreds of parts. From idea to production in a matter of days at a fraction of the cost.

The session will cover a recommended workflow, design guidelines and injecting conditions to manufacture low-run injection molds with 3D printing. It will also discuss some use cases where customers are now using 3D printed molds from their Formlabs machine that cost less than half of a traditional in-house machined mould.

What you will learn:

  • Expert processes to design a 3D printed mold for injection molding
  • Which printing and molding conditions ensure success
  • An overview of the Formlabs resins that our customers Novus Applications and Braskem use for the molds
  • Strategies for the post-processing workflow, including ejection and demolding

Click here to register and to find out more about the webinar!

 

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CERATIZIT Wins Innovation Award For The Additive Manufacturing Of Carbide Parts

CERATIZIT Wins Innovation Award For The Additive Manufacturing Of Carbide Parts

The CERATIZIT Group has won the 2020 Innovation Award of the FEDIL business federation in the ‘Process’ category for the development of a new process for the additive manufacturing of tungsten carbide-cobalt. Thus, the Luxembourg hard materials specialist has established itself as a pioneer in the additive manufacturing of cemented carbide components.

The additive manufacturing of components made of plastic, steel and other materials has continued to grow in importance over the last few years. However, in the case of cemented carbide, there had not been a reliable process so far that achieved the same standard of quality as the manufacturing processes that had been established and optimised over decades. With its newly developed process, CERATIZIT not only achieves the customary quality of products manufactured by pressing and machining but can also respond better to customer requirements, as Head of R&D Dr. Ralph Useldinger explained:

“Additive manufacturing of carbide products provides us with more flexibility in terms of implementing customer requirements and opens new design possibilities, which we can use to offer our customers highly optimised, individual solutions in minimum time.” This also includes active support in optimising product design, as Useldinger emphasised.

Faster delivery at lower costs

One of the main advantages of the additive manufacturing of cemented carbide is the time and cost savings during the critical ramp-up of products in small batches and of high complexity such as the manufacturing of prototypes. By producing the geometry directly from the design software, 3D printing allows for the fast planning and implementation of projects, without the use of production-intensive shapes and dies as well as expensive, diamond-tipped tools which are needed for the machining of carbide parts. This undoubtedly saves a lot of valuable time and money, particularly in the development of prototypes.

More freedom of design

The second big benefit of additive manufacturing is the wider range of possible shapes due to the direct production of free-form contours which go way beyond the limits of traditional manufacturing processes. Thanks to the new process, geometries can now be manufactured that were previously considered unfeasible. These include, for instance, structures that have undercuts or areas inaccessible to cutting tools such as cavities and channels inside the finished body which cannot be accessed from outside at a later stage. This innovation enables a higher degree of component complexity as well as a deeper level of integration while at the same time reducing the number of assemblies and individual components.

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3D Printing And Titanium — A Life-Changing Combination

3D printing And Titanium — A Life-Changing Combination

3D printing is delivering customisation options that make it possible to create almost any shape using additive manufacturing (AM) technology. In fact, the possibilities of 3D printing are so game-changing, it is even possible to create carbon copies of our own skulls. Sandvik’s additive manufacturing and metal powder specialists are exploring the potential of AM in the medical field, and are preparing for the future of medical implants.

Life-threatening accidents, vertebral damage, chronic osteopathic conditions and side-effects from medical treatment can all cause irreparable damage to patients. The consequences can be painful, debilitating and even fatal, so we must develop solutions to help the human body overcome challenges, enhance the healing process and improve patient prognosis. Medical implant technology has developed vastly over the years, and one of manufacturing’s most disruptive technologies is set to transform the way we treat patients.

Medical implant developers require a manufacturing technology that delivers speed, individualisation and the ability to produce complex designs. 3D printing, paired with bio-compatible materials like titanium, is demonstrating its evident potential as the medical industry’s manufacturing technology of choice for life-changing solutions.

In the past, surgeons used metal mesh to replace areas of the body such as skull bones, which tended to be weak and lacked precision. 3D printing eliminates these flaws because it uses medical imaging to create a customised implant, shaped exactly according to the individual’s anatomical data. This means that the patient can be fitted with an exact match to replace the lost or damaged area of the skull.

In Sandviken, Sweden, lies one of the world’s most cutting-edge titanium powder plants. At the plant, Sandvik’s experts are unlocking the potential of 3D printed titanium devices for the medical industry. “Titanium, 3D printing and the medical sector are the perfect match,” explains Harald Kissel, R&D Manager at Sandvik Additive Manufacturing.

“Titanium has excellent properties and is one of few metals accepted by the human body, while 3D printing can rapidly deliver bespoke results for an industry where acting quickly could be the difference between life and death.”

In addition to titanium’s material benefits, AM can help overcome some of the challenges when producing medical implants and prosthetics. Typically, the process of being fit for a prosthesis involves several visits to create a device that fits a patient and their needs. As a result, the time between a patient’s life-changing surgery and them receiving their device can be painstakingly slow.

“If a patient undergoes a serious accident, one that destroys areas such as the skull or spine beyond repair, they simply do not have time to spare to ensure their reconstructive devices fit correctly. Instead, they’re given solutions that work, but aren’t tailored to their bodies,” Kissel explained.

“Long waiting times and a lack of customisation can really impact how a patient feels after they’ve undergone a life-changing event or procedure. Even in 2020, there are still prosthetic patients using devices that do not move, or are simply just hooks.”

“Using computer tomography, it is now possible to optimise designs that simply cannot be produced using other manufacturing methods. What’s more, we can make our designs lighter, with less material waste and in shorter lead times. Patients could receive a perfectly matching device, in less time and using a high-performing, lightweight material.”

In summer 2020, Sandvik’s specialist powder plant was awarded the ISO 13485:2016 medical certification for its Osprey titanium powders, positioning its highly automated production process at the forefront of medical device development. As AM disrupts many areas of manufacturing, it’s clear that its potential in the medical sector will be life changing.

Sandvik is also part of one of the most ground-breaking research projects within the medical segment to date, contributing with its extensive material expertise. The Swiss M4M Center in Switzerland is a public-private partnership initiated by the Swiss government, aiming to evolve medical 3D printing to a level where patient-specific, innovative implants can be developed and manufactured quickly and cost-effectively.

“The Swiss M4M Center is intended to build up and certify a complete end-to-end production line for medical applications, like implants. Being able to facilitate this initiative through the unique material knowledge that is found within Sandvik is an empowering experience. Joining forces with an array of experts to reinvent the future of medical devices as well as the lives of thousands of people — is an experience out of the ordinary.”

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Gravity Pull Systems Introduces Industrialised MES Solutions For AM Processes

Gravity Pull Systems Introduces Industrialised MES Solutions For AM Processes

Gravity Pull Systems, Inc., the enabler of industrialisation in additive manufacturing has launched an integrated Schedule Optimiser and MES system that provides a simple solution to a highly complex problem:

While most of existing solutions for Planning/Scheduling and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) require a special process design to meet relevant requirements for AM processes, Gravity’s product suite Synoptik provides a technology that enables best economics of scale and supports profound digital transformation in additive manufacturing.

The Synoptik product suite provides an all-in-one solution, enabling

  • Holistic process planning across entire manufacturing processes, including post-processing with the objective to achieve the most optimal levels of material consumption, material re-use and capacity utilisation
  • full transparency and traceability by a 24/7 total view on each & every process step
  • industry-specific Audit & Compliance conformity for Aerospace, Automotive, Automation and Medical industries
  • significant cost savings by reduced manufacturing costs while ensuring sustainability

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Industrial And Manufacturing 2021: The Year For Additive, Digital Threads, And Industry 4.0

Industrial And Manufacturing 2021: The Year For Additive, Digital Threads, And Industry 4.0

In its new whitepaper, 68 Technology Trends That Will Shape 2021, ABI Research identify 37 trends that will shape the technology market and 31 others that, although attracting huge amounts of speculation and commentary, are less likely to move the needle over the next twelve months. “For success in 2021, especially after a very challenging 2020, one must understand fundamental trends early, and take a view on those trends that are buoyed by hyperbole and those that are sure to be uncomfortable realities. Now is the time to double down on the right technology investment,” says Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research.

Additive Manufacturing Software Innovation Will Play Catch Up

“Additive Manufacturing (AM) is an ecosystem starting to open to third-party developers, and we will see this in 2021 with broader support for AM systems in IoT platforms, a much greater emphasis on simulation and integration of process parameters, and a market that will start to realise the disparity between hardware and software innovation and react with new solutions, and new programs that improve awareness, education, and integration. The reason these actions are inevitable is that production AM simply cannot happen without them,” says Ryan Martin, Industrial & Manufacturing Research Director at ABI Research.

Simulation Will be the Needle for Digital Threads

Manufacturers and industrial firms have been focusing efforts on creating a digital thread that keeps data flowing in a continuous loop between the engineering, manufacturing, and fulfillment teams. “However, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital threads failed to anticipate demand surges because machine learning was looking at historical patterns and did not provide firms with the ability to maintain production. In 2021, simulation will provide firms with an overview of their operations and stress test them to build resilience. Projects will look to simulate scenarios and run what-if analysis that covers both downstream events (in end markets or individual customers) and upstream events to simulate how to accommodate supply chain events in engineering and production departments,” explains Michael Larner, Industrial & Manufacturing Principal Analyst at ABI Research.

Smart Manufacturing Builds Momentum

“Smart manufacturing will continue to build on its momentum in 2021, but not until factory owners embrace 5G for their smart factory connectivity layer will they reap the operational benefits. Factory owners have been deploying industry 4.0 tools, such as condition-based monitoring, inventory management, and building automation using ethernet cable, but deploying wireless-enabled Industry 4.0 tools will bring smart manufacturing to its full potential. Applications like wearables (health and location/safety trackers) and AR are only possible with wireless connectivity,” states Jake Saunders, Vice President at ABI Research.

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Lightning Fast 3D Printing: SLM Solutions Prints E-Drive Housing From Porsche On NXG XII 600

Lightning Fast 3D printing: SLM Solutions Prints E-Drive Housing From Porsche On NXG XII 600

Has metal 3D printing arrived in the manufacturing industry and is the technology ready to enter serial production? What does it take to make the leap to industrialisation?

With its recently launched innovative SLM machine NXG XII 600, SLM Solutions provided an answer to these questions. The machine sets new milestones in terms of productivity, size, reliability and safety and paves the way to the future of manufacturing. Now, SLM Solutions presents application examples, produced on the NXG XII 600, which impressively illustrate the speed and productivity of the machine to reduce part costs.

The NXG XII 600 is equipped with twelve overlapping 1 kW lasers and a build envelope of 600x600x600 mm, enabling the production of large-volume square parts with up to 120 µm layer thickness and even more. Productivity is further enhanced through variable beam spot, bi-directional recoating, laser balance and an optimised gas flow while a closed environment maximises 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, cylinder heads etc. in additive manufacturing. In a proof of concept with the SLM machine NXG XII 600 a complete E-drive housing with an innovative AM Design was successfully printed. Porsche thereby sets high quality demands on the part: A permanent magnet motor with 800 volt 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 Newton meters 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 optimisation 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.

Falk Heilfort, powertrain development engineer of Porsche states: “This new manufacturing technology is technically and economically interesting for us. Possible use cases are especially prototypes in the development phase, special and small series production as well as for motor sport and classic spare parts.“ The E-drive unit measures 590 x 560 x 367 mm and was built in only 21 hours on the NXG XII 600.

Ralf Frohwerk, Global Head of Business Development of SLM Solutions, is delighted with the excellent results of the Porsche part: “We are glad and proud to cooperate with highly innovate companies like Porsche. The NXG XII 600 achieves unmatched levels of performance and functional improvements of key automotive parts while delivering cost productivity that enables broad use of additive manufacturing technology for true series production. We are thrilled to take this big step towards full industrialisation of metal additive manufacturing for Porsche applications.”

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Solving Porosity Problems In Additive Manufacturing

Solving Porosity Problems in Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing is revolutionising manufacturing in a number of industries, yet it is still subject to porosity, a well-known challenge that causes leak paths and can lead to high value components being scrapped. In this article, Dr. Mark Cross of Ultraseal International Group talks about how additive printing consultancy Graphite AM overcame this issue.

Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, enables the fast and cost-effective production of complex high-quality components in a range of materials. The rise of this technology has been fast, and it is rapidly altering the manufacturing landscape.

According to Deloitte, additive manufacturing is empowering Industry 4.0. In 2019, the global additive manufacturing market size was valued at $11.58 billion and is predicted to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) exceeding 14 percent from 2020 to 2027, according to Grand View Research.

3D printing has evolved from a revolutionary technology into a mainstream process and is now being used across a wide range of industries. From aerospace relying on additive manufacturing for functional aircraft components to automotive using it for grips, jigs and fixtures, 3D printing has seen a significant growth in applications and it’s easy to see why. 

Thanks to its clean and simple process, 3D printing produces high quality components and removes the need for expensive tooling and machining. Additive manufacturing is not only ideal for small and intricate parts, but it is also a cost-effective and quick way to produce prototypes, one-offs and components in low volumes.

A Pinhole Porosity Problem

However, as the manufacturing technology evolves, a legacy challenge still remains: porosity. During additive manufacturing, microscopic holes that are invisible to the naked eye are formed within the body of the part. Porosity is an inherent issue with diecast components and while the cause and application might be different, the end result is always the same—and that is scrappage. 

Typically, porosity is caused either by the printing process itself, or by the powder used in the process. These microscopic voids reduce the density of components, leading to cracks, leaks and fatigue. For parts that go into applications which need to be air or fluid tight – for example in fuel or cooling systems—this can be an especially critical issue.

To continue reading this article, head on over to our Ebook!

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Review: The Future Of Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

Review: The Future Of Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), in conjunction with SLM Solutions, SIEMENS, Universal Robots, Markforged, NAMIC, and GlobalData held a two-part webinar on 24 Nov and 15 Dec 2020 aimed at helping manufacturers understand 3D printing better and gather insights on the way forward for additive manufacturing (AM) in Southeast Asia.

In the first session on 24 Nov with SLM Solutions, SIEMENS and Globaldata, we looked at where the pandemic has left the AM industry in 2020; key considerations towards successful adoption; case studies which showcased the flexibility and agility of AM in the fight against the pandemic. Click here to view its recap as well as watch the playback of the session. 

We picked up from where we left off in our second session on 15 Dec with Gary Tang, Regional Sales Director, at SLM Solutions Singapore; Li Chen, Application Engineer, APAC, at Markforged; James McKew, Regional Director, APAC, at Universal Robots; and Dr. Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (or NAMIC).

In a lively roundtable discussion, we addressed burning questions like how AM is a strategic differentiator in today’s manufacturing environment, how it presents unique opportunities and the future developing trends. Other discussion highlights include how to justify investments in 3D printing technologies, and the importance of partnering with the right companies or organisations, because AM is a very fast growing technology and no one company knows everything.

View the full webinar here!

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AM Heralding New Chapter For Fluid Flow Applications

AM Heralding New Chapter For Fluid Flow Applications

Making the most of additive manufacturing (AM) is not only about installing the technology. As with anything, the deeper the knowledge of the process, the more one can get out of it and the more applications can be developed. AM experts and application engineers are thus in a unique position, from which they can innovate and solve many challenges associated with traditional manufacturing.

Perhaps no area illustrates this dynamic better than fluid flow applications, which exist across many industries that are driving adoption of AM: from automotive and motorsports, to aerospace, energy and beyond. For years, our knowledge of fluid dynamics has gone beyond what we’ve been able to achieve using conventional manufacturing processes. Now, additive manufacturing is changing this reality, enabling engineers to produce optimised designs that would have previously been impossible to make.

Thanks to AM, it is now possible to create fluid flow systems that are superior in terms of performance, efficiency and reliability. In a new, free to download eBook, 3D Systems explores applications of its AM technologies for fluid flow systems, highlighting real and extensive benefits in terms of everything from performance to weight reduction.

Bed of 3D printed fuel nozzle

Untethering design

Many of the benefits of additive manufacturing for fluid flow applications are related to design. Compared to subtractive manufacturing, AM offers an exceptional level of design freedom, allowing for the creation of parts with complex internal geometries and features. In short, this means that we can now conceive of new and better designs for fluid flow applications.

CERN, the Switzerland-based European organisation that operates the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle collider (and the world’s largest machine), partnered with 3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group (AIG) to redesign and manufacture titanium cool-bars for LHC experiments. AM enabled the partners to overcome several challenges associated with the parts, which are used to cool the detection area to -40 deg C to preserve particle reactions for study.

CERN and 3D Systems designed 3D printed cool-bars for the LHCb assembly

Chief among the challenges was space: the cool-bars had to fit into a limited space while still dissipating enough heat. They had to achieve temperature uniformity over the length of a photo-detection strip, which measures 140 meters in length and less than 2 mm in width. All while meeting flatness specifications for detector efficiency and resolution.

Based on these requirements, the partners conceived of the perfect part design. “This design was so beautiful, but it was not producible in the usual ways,” explained Antonio Pellegrino, a leader on the LHCb SciFi Tracker project at CERN.

Using Direct Metal Printing (DMP), 3D Systems’ AIG and CERN were able to manufacture more than 300 units of the titanium cool-bars, each of which met the necessary specifications, including 0.25 mm wall thicknesses (to improve heat dissipation), leak tightness and flatness with a precision of 50 microns. The full case study can be found here.

 

Flowing across industry segments

A lamella heat exchanger design

The benefits of AM in fluid flow systems extend well beyond CERN, from heat exchangers, to integrated cooling, to propulsion systems and fuel injectors, to fluid manifolds and all the way to microfluidics. AM is enabling improved efficiency for all these fluid flow applications, in more ways than one.

On the one hand, additive manufacturing can enable the production of more lightweight structures thanks to optimised geometries. This ability is especially crucial in applications like propulsion systems and fuel injectors, where weight is a critical factor and can drive up operating costs.

In designing a liquid rocket engine injector, for example, the German Space Center (DLR), in cooperation with the 3D Systems Customer Innovation Center, was able to consolidate 30 components into a single part, which resulted in a final weight reduction of 10 percent. On top of that, the consolidated design eliminated points of failure that existed in the original system, improving overall system performance. The 3D printed fuel injector also integrated certain features, like pressure and temperature sensor channels, which resulted in superior cooling and combustion performance. These performance-enhancing features were enabled by 3D Systems’ DMP technology.

A recent test fire by the DLR

“Based on the success of space-related initiatives involving DMP, we thought that 3D Systems was perfectly suited for providing the design-for-manufacturing aspects of the injector head, with an eye on new possibilities for sensor integration and fuel and coolant distribution,” explained Markus Kuhn, who is managing the injector head project at DLR.

 

A simply better flow

AM can also improve the efficiency of fluid flow applications by directly improving on fluid dynamics. Most conventional manufacturing processes favor designs with sharp corners, which can be problematic, as fluid moving through internal channels can become trapped in stagnant zones. This, in turn, leads to pressure loss and reduces efficiency. Design for AM can eliminate these troublesome design features and create internal channels that are optimised for fluid dynamics. These benefits can be seen most clearly in fluid manifolds in semiconductor machinery and microfluidic devices used in research labs.

Similarly, it is possible to design fluid flow systems with intentional turbulence to achieve peak cooling. In heat exchangers, for instance, built-in turbulence can increase thermal transfer, which can be useful in refrigeration appliances, energy generation and many other applications. Overall, AM enables engineers and fluid flow specialists to base designs off of fluid dynamics rather than on manufacturing limitations.

A 3D printed hydraulic manifold with optimised flow

To sum it up, additive manufacturing is changing the state of fluid flow applications for the better, offering improved manufacturability through part consolidation, superior efficiency through weight reduction and mixing efficiency, and better space utilisation. This is true in virtually all fluid dynamics areas, whether you are 3D printing metal cool-bars for the LHC, a fuel injector, or a plastic microfluidic device with tiny channels.

Still, the learning curve can be fairly steep, as it encompasses not only a new manufacturing process but also a whole new design mindset. Fortunately, the experts are on hand to ease the adoption of AM. Partners like 3D Systems can help end users to make the most out of 3D printing for fluid flow applications, through consulting, as well as through training and manufacturing services. The company says: “We help to discover where and how AM fits within an existing architecture, and advise on how to simplify the onboarding process.”

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Additive Manufacturing Meets Industry 4.0: Igus Makes 3D Printed Tribo-Components Intelligent

Additive Manufacturing Meets Industry 4.0: igus Makes 3D Printed Tribo-Components Intelligent

Even today, 3D printed wear-resistant parts from igus often have the same service life as original parts. Now igus goes one step further and makes the printed components intelligent. Manufactured in filament printing, they warn against overload and report their maintenance requirements.

The special feature: for the first time, the sensors are directly “printed into” the parts. As a result, they not only have extremely short delivery times and low costs but also feature useful Industry 4.0 options.

Additive Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 – two themes that are changing the industry forever. igus engineers have now succeeded in combining both in a single production step: for the first time, sensors are printed into the additively manufactured tribo-component using multi-material printing.

“We have now achieved a real breakthrough with the smart 3D printed bearing”, says Tom Krause, Head of Additive Production at igus. “In this way, predictive maintenance is also possible for special parts in a cost-saving manner.” Long before the failure, the intelligent 3D printed component signals that a replacement is imminent. It can also detect overload in order to stop the application immediately and prevent further damage to the bearing position and the entire system.

Wear or load are monitored

igus has been producing intelligent wear-resistant parts for energy chains, plain bearings and linear guides since 2016. At the start, plain bearings were manufactured from iglidur I3 in laser sintering and the intelligence was subsequently introduced in a second processing step. In this case, however, the production of intelligent special parts in small quantities is complex and expensive, as the downstream work steps are very specifically designed for the respective component.

Using a new process, igus developers are now able to produce such intelligent wear-resistant parts in just a single work step. No further processing steps are necessary and intelligent special wear parts can be produced cost-effectively from five working days. The sensor layer is applied to those parts of the component that will be subjected to load. Wear-resistant components with integrated sensors are created using multi-material printing. The components are manufactured from iglidur I150 or iglidur I180 filaments and a specially developed electrically conductive 3D printing material that bonds well with the tribo-filament.

Currently, two areas of application are possible: if the electrically conductive material is located between the layers subject to wear, it can warn against overloading. Because if the load changes, the electrical resistance also changes. The machine can be stopped and further damage can be prevented. To determine the load limits, the bearing must be calibrated accordingly. If, on the other hand, the conductor track is embedded in the sliding surface, the wear can be measured via the change in resistance. Predictive maintenance is possible with the 3D printed component. The lubrication-free and maintenance-free tribo-component announces when it needs to be replaced, avoiding system downtime and enabling maintenance to be planned in advance. If the 3D printed components are also used in the pre-series stage, the collected wear or load data provide additional information about the service life of the individual component or the planned application in the series. This makes it easier to adapt and optimise the development process.

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