Desktop Metal launches Live Sinter process simulation software for powder metallurgy manufacturing processes

Desktop Metal has launched a software platform designed to remove the trial and error process required to produce high-accuracy parts with metal powder 3D printing technologies.

The software platform will supplement Desktop Metal’s Shop and Production Systems

Live Sinter is a process simulation software that is said to correct shrinkage and distortion of binder jet 3D printed parts during sintering, while also improving the shape and dimensional tolerances of sintered parts for ‘first-time part success’. With post-processing reduced and support structures unnecessary in many cases, the company believes users will be able to tackle more complex geometries in quicker and cheaper fashion.

While sintering is a critical step in powder metallurgy-based manufacturing processes, Desktop Metal has sought to make the process more seamless with its latest product development. Typically, without sufficient support structures, parts are at risk of deformation during the sintering phase, but Live Sinter works to predict shrinkage and distortion and automatically compensate with the use of negative offset geometries. These negative offsets are created with a ‘GPU-accelerated iterative process’ that proactively pre-deforms part geometries by precise amounts in order to achieve their intended shape as they sinter. Thanks to its multi-physics engine, the software can simulate a sintering furnace cycle within five minutes and create the negative offset geometries in another 15 minutes. The software can also be calibrated to new materials, sintering hardware and process parameters with ‘minimal additional effort.’

Desktop Metal will make Live Sinter available before the end of 2020 to customers of its Shop System and Production System, with the platform being made open to users of other sintering-based metal manufacturing processes – including metal injection moulding – also a possibility.

“The manufacturing industry is witnessing the transformative power that additive manufacturing has across many industries, from automotive and aerospace, to heavy machinery and consumer products with respect to quality, performance, and cost savings. We believe Live Sinter will be a critical companion in continuing to drive forward the success of additive manufacturing,” commented Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal. “As manufacturers look to capitalise on the flexibility of volume production delivered through technologies such as binder jetting, Live Sinter is a first-of-its-kind solution that offers a path to predictable and repeatable outcomes by demystifying the sintering process.”

“Live Sinter was developed by joining forces with – instead of fighting against – sintering-based challenges. In doing so, the software generates negative offset part geometries that sinter to the intended shapes and dimensional specifications,” added Andy Roberts, Desktop Metal VP of Software. “It also tackles some of sintering’s biggest challenges, such as the use of setters. For years, creating setters that prop up parts in the furnace relied on the intuition of few engineers with years of hands-on experience. Now, the process is easier, more predictable, and more controllable using Live Sinter.”

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