Digital Photonic Production - Optimization potentials by Laser based manufacturing

Digital photonic production enables us to produce nearly any component or product directly from digital data. Due to a fundamental change in the cost function laser based manufacturing technologies hail a new technological revolution. One of the most promising laser based manufacturing methods is Selective Laser Melting (SLM). Over the last 5 years the build rate of SLM has increased by a factor of ten and as a result the cost per piece has reduced dramatically. In contrast to conventional manufacturing techniques SLM offers the huge advantage to manufacture very complex products in small lot sizes with no additional costs related to the geometric complexity or individuality of the product. SLM can be used to produce a wide range of lightweight-structures such as lattice structures (strut diameters <100 µm) in any arbitrary shape to functional optimize products. The optimization potential offered by SLM is not yet fully explored by state-of-the-art optimization software such as OptiStruct One of the main challenges is to boost the efficiency and resolution of the optimization algorithms. In addition current optimization software should incorporate SLM-specific geometric restrictions such as overhang restriction. Another approach would be to introduce new digital material classes with predefined properties to avoid the issue of resolution of current topology optimization algorithms.


The Author

Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Ing. Simon Jens Merkt
Integrative Produktion
Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

Christian Hinze
RWTH Aachen