Melotte provides training and advice on “Design for additive manufacturing”
Melotte has recently launched a training course on “Design for additive manufacturing”, in which product design is reconsidered from the point of view of the capabilities of 3D metal printing. Many companies are broadly aware of the business opportunities presented by 3D metal printing, but their approach is limited by traditional production thinking. This limitation can make 3D printing an expensive technology. In order to get the most out of 3D metal printing and to realize its added value, one must dare to question the design of the product to be printed.
The manufacture of a hydraulic block (or manifold) presents a good example. Classically, the starting point was a solid, metal block in which the required holes were drilled and/or milled. With 3D printing, the solid block is replaced by a network of tubes connected to each other by means of a supporting structure. The result is a much lighter hydraulic block. This certainly represents a huge advantage in situations where weight reduction is a challenge.
Nozzle production (for instance for compressed air) provides another example. Traditional production requires six components for a functioning nozzle. With 3D printing, the entire product is printed in one operation. This greatly simplifies assembly and results in better compressed air flow in the final product.
So – reconsidering the original product design is definitely worthwhile!