Industrial CT software provider Volume Graphics is one of 14 companies working to improve the additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping of mould and tooling components through a joint-project with the Kunststoff-Institut consortium.
Volume Graphics will contribute its quality assurance and process optimisation know-how to the efforts which will also lean on the expertise of the likes of DMG Digital Enterprises, Faurecia Autositze GmbH, Parker Hannifin Technology and Sonova AG. Together, they will look to enhance the quality of additively manufactured mould components and their prototypes. This application of 3D printing technology continues to grow because of the savings in both time and cost.
To assess the quality of printed mould and tooling components, industrial CT scanning is often carried out. Industrial CT scanning enables non-destructive testing and through this project Volume Graphics will be leveraging its latest software products to take a deep dive into the information generated through the imaging process. CT scanning, and the subsequent analysis of the data, helps to identify flaws that aren’t always visible to the naked eye. Volume Graphics’ VGSTUDIO MAX and VGMETROLOGY platforms both boast a Manufacturing Geometry Correction module, which can be used to detect defects like part shrinkage, part distortion or dimensional deviations and transfer the data back to CAD to facilitate the redesign. They also feature simulation capabilities which can be harnessed to guide amendments to how products are designed and manufactured.
Volume Graphics believes these capabilities can help to significantly improve the quality of 3D printed components and the speed at which they were produced, and in turn, do the same for the end use product.
“Working on this project with Kunststoff-Institut and partners is very important to us because we are convinced that industrial computed tomography can advanced the future of rapid tooling,” commented Christof Reinhart, CEO of Volume Graphics. “We have been following the topic of additive manufacturing in general and rapid tooling in particular for some time now and are working on solution to increase prototype volumes, speed of design and overall part-and-process quality.
“With our Manufacturing Geometry Correction module, we have laid the foundation for many new applications in tool and mould making that can take advantage of improving speed and quality developments in additive manufacturing. This data can be of great use to tool designers to improve both the tool design itself and the 3D printing strategy used to manufacture it.”