Ford Motor Company
BOOSTING 3D PRINTING
DESIGN WITH SIMULATION
FORD USES ALTAIR® INSPIRE™ TO CREATE LIGHTWEIGHT COMPONENTS FOR VEHICLES
About the Customer
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker that designs, manufactures, markets, and services a wide range of cars, trucks, SUVs, electric vehicles, and luxury vehicles. Committed to being the world’s most reliable mobility and intelligent vehicle design company, Ford maintains engineering centers in locations like USA, India, Mexico, Germany and Brazil.
Additive Manufacturing (AM) is one of the fastest growing trends in product development, and the automotive sector is no exception. Additive manufacturing is revolutionizing the way we create and produce products. From faster production times to greater design flexibility, the benefits of this technology are endless. As this technology is relatively new, however, AM expertise in the industry is not on par with that of traditional manufacturing. It is easy to overlook critical considerations in pursuit of mechanical design efficiency, and difficult to set printer parameters that, if chosen incorrectly, could produce structural failures, performance deficiencies, and aesthetic issues in the printed components.
Implementing AM, along with the Altair® Inspire™ 3D printing simulation within the product development process, has helped Ford Motor Company identify possible product defects and error states throughout the manufacturing lifecycle, providing relevant information to optimize first-time quality through design.
Specifically, bracket design that is meant to provide better heat management via internal cooling channel design. Virtual simulation and topology optimization within Altair Inspire allows the creation of optimal geometries for brackets, which delivers a more effective heat dissipation and ultimately produces better mechanical behavior and dimension control for these components. Altair Inspires 3D printing simulation, together with a design of experiment process created with Altair® HyperStudy®, has helped solve issues that typically happen at printing stage such as detachment of the supports and aesthetic finish problems, and enables printer parameter optimization for peak performance.
Fig 1: Plastic Strain (CAE model vs Physical Testing)
With software solutions from Altair, Ford better understands the 3D printing manufacturing processes covered. The simulation showed good A to B comparison results and correlations between the FEA model and physical testing. As a result, Ford can identify and propose the best process parameters to avoid future failures before going out to production. Using HyperStudy technology for design of experiments also provides value on the analysis’ decision making, such that Ford is able to identify the impact of the process parameters on the output variables.
"With Altair´s Additive Manufacturing tools, we are able to successfully predict failures on physical models reducing cost production."
PT Cooling CAE Engineer