Due to its flexibility, Additive Manufacturing (AM) plays a pivotal role in saving cost and time. The technology provides companies with umpteen opportunities, also enhancing manufacturing processes. Keeping this in mind, VDMA recently organised the VDMA symposium on ‘Additive Manufacturing – the game changer of manufacturing’ in Pune, India, which addressed how AM is transforming the industry, how companies can benefit from it, its future and more.
No perfect technology within AM
The event took off with the inaugural session, with Rajesh Nath, Managing Director, VDMA India, explaining that the forward looking technologies and innovations involved in Additive Manufacturing are opening up new paths for economic, technical and logistical advantages in the manufacturing domain. “It is important to note that within AM, there is no perfect technology for all purposes,” he said and continued, “Rather, what we need to do is to determine the most suitable technology to a specific case.”
Moving on, Sandip Roy, Regional Head – East, VDMA India, spoke on ‘Additive Manufacturing – a perspective from VDMA’, where he threw light on the VDMA Working Group Additive Manufacturing, “The Working Group AM provides added value by exchange about experiences and potentials of AM,” he informed.
Additive Manufacturing is here to stay
While Nath, in the beginning of the conference, threw light on the forward looking technologies involved in AM, the chief guest of the day, Krishna Bhojkar, CGM – Manufacturing Engineering, Volkswagen India, elucidated that any new technology goes from being ridiculous to miraculous to ordinary. “And the same goes for Additive Manufacturing,” he enlightened and added, “Additive Manufacturing is here to stay and thrive.”
Through his presentation on ‘Adapting Additive Manufacturing in the Indian automotive industry – way forward’, Bhojkar pointed out some of the biggest strengths of Additive Manufacturing in the automotive industry, which are the elimination of tools, coming to low specific energy and lots of mass customisation possibilities. This brought a close to the inaugural session.
The legal aspect
As much as Additive Manufacturing is turning out to be the game changer of manufacturing, understanding its legal aspects is just as important. In this context, the first presentation of the first technical session for the day began with Arjun Paleri, Principal Associate, BTG Legal Services, taking the audience through the legal process that one might come across in the contract of Additive Manufacturing. With his presentation on ‘How to contract for Additive Manufacturing’, Paleri asserted that one must check how he/she wants to achieve protection of his/her intellectual property if he/she is making a new product. “One also needs to be clear with the customer about the scope and limitations, which also makes it clear what the intended use of the product is,” he cited.
AM + Topology Optimisation
Following this, Ashwin Deshpande, Director – Sales, Altair Engineering, presented the topic ‘Simulation driven design process for ALM’. He spoke on Topology Optimisation’s significance for AM. “Topology Optimisation helps 3D Printing,” he said and continued, “Also, AM + Topology Optimisation leads to geometric freedom and injects innovation.”
Next, Frank Kynast, Manager – Additive Manufacturing, Arburg, spoke on ‘Additive Manufacturing of fully functional parts made of standard plastic material’. He also highlighted the difference between injection moulding and AM; for instance, joint lines need to be avoided during injection moulding & there’s no possibility of compression, no defined shaping as with the injection moulding tool, when it comes to AM.
The role of virtualisation
The first technical session came to an end with Tanay Sil, Head - Business Development-Industry, B&R Industrial Automation, talking about ‘Additive Manufacturing with virtualisation’. “For AM, we should have machines that are scalable in nature,” expounded Sil and continued, “When we talk about vitualisation, it means that we are looking at the functionality of the machine without starting any mechanical component.”
The second technical session started off with a presentation by G Ragesh Kumar, Product Manager, igus India, on ‘igus 3D printing solutions’, where, through illustrations, he explained various components made out of AM process offered by igus in vehicle manufacturing. The next speaker was Dr Sanjeev Kumar, Business Development Group Manager, Renishaw Metrology Systems, who made a presentation on ‘Advancing AM productivity without compromising quality’. With the help of case studies, Dr Sanjeev Kumar explained the benefits of AM method compared to subtractive manufacturing.
The symposium came to an end with Sachin Gambhire, Associate Director, BD & Marketing, TRUMPF (India), speaking on ‘Industrial additive technologies’. In his application-oriented presentation, Gambhire covered two methods – Laser Metal Deposit (LMD) and Laser Metal Fusion (LMF).
A long-term game changer
The symposium gave a strong thrust on the fact that Additive Manufacturing is a prominent tool in bringing about a difference to help manufacturers flourish. It established that AM is not only a game changer, but a long-term game changer for manufacturing.