Additive Design Consultancy offer new design and optimisation service for metal AM parts for defence and aerospace.
Online PR News – 08-February-2015 – Essex, UK. – Additive Design consultancy (ADC), based in south Essex, is a new company set up to provide design and optimisation expertise for additive manufactured components to the high end engineering industries.
For many companies additive manufacturing is an exciting future manufacturing method, which can be currently out of reach due to the cost of investment and training. Additive Design Consultancy steps up to offer an on demand service to design components for the process of AM in order to get the most from the technology for the customer.
“We believe additive manufacturing, and most notably metal AM, is a huge new design area that can be daunting for some customers,” explained ADC’s director, Adam Arnold. “We provide expertise in the AM principles and the skill to apply it to the customer’s product. This can be realised by either redesigning current parts or assemblies of parts, or, more excitingly, to design whole systems or products from the ground upwards using this manufacturing technology.”
One of the advantages of metal AM is that is can be used directly to replace difficult to manufacture or complex parts and assemblies that are already used in current products, whilst giving a weight advantage at the same time.
“Of course Metal AM has a direct and significant impact on current products,” continued Adam. “We can make products lighter and out of stronger and more exotic materials, they can even be hollow if necessary. For sure, titanium is one of the widest used materials in this process, whereas if you are machining something it is usually made from Aluminium. So we can enable performance and production gains for relatively little outlay.”
However, it is ADC’s experience in the high end industries of system design, and the mastery of designing for AM which allows customers to move to the next level of product performance using additive manufacturing.
“There is a really exciting field of engineering developing, and that is because AM has moved the traditional boundaries of mechanical design,” stated Adam. “Let’s think about a UAV wing. It is largely linear and straight, and has cut outs for ailerons and elevators. Is this the best shape or one that has been selected due to cost and linear forms of manufacturing? With AM now, complexity does not make a great impact on cost. So let us think of that wing if we were making it using AM, could it be longer, narrower, more shaped like an albatrosses’ wing to improve range for example? Could we have many individually controlled facets to mimic feathers for greater control? Could we do away with the rudder to reduce drag and give it a smaller radar signature? Could it bend in the middle to allow the UAV to drop like a Hawk to make extreme avoidance manoeuvres? These are the sorts of questions we like to address.”
Additive Design Consultancy uses a number of ground breaking software packages to optimise parts structurally, to make the most of the additive manufacturing process. This can lead to complex micro-organic forms internally, whilst maintaining a sleek outer shell for aesthetics, using advanced materials for strength.
“Let’s face it, nature has been optimising structures for additive manufacturing for millions of years,” said Adam. “It is no surprise there is a raft of software packages to help guide the engineer to recreate this design process. The problem for a small to medium business is if an engineer is not using the process or software all the time, especially with something as complex and open ended as AM, they will not get the best from the exercise. Here at ADC we use the software all the time and are always thinking about how this can be made better, lighter and cheaper in AM. Our customers have found that the consultancy approach for such a large and emerging field of engineering gives better results.”