The AM association within VDMA: AM4You

The AM association within VDMA: AM4You

The Additive Manufacturing Association within the VDMA organizes presentations targeting the use of additive technologies in forges, foundries, and the automotive industry at formnext 2017 in Frankfurt.

By Rainer Gebhardt, project manager AM Association, VDMA

The lecture program on the AM4You stage will show how machine and automotive producers are optimizing traditional manufacturing processes with the help of additive manufacturing. Experts belonging to more than 120 members of the VDMA AM Association will give half a dozen short lectures on the use of additively manufactured components in foundry and forge processes as well as in automotive production, taking place in the AM4You-Area at formnext.

AM optimizes forge and foundry processes

In one of the lectures, the SMS group will look at the advantages of additively manufactured spray heads in drop forge processes. Among others, the automotive industry uses this in forge and hot forming processes. In such presses, work pieces that have a temperature of up to 1300°C are pressed into shape between an upper and a lower die. For process quality, it is important to clean those dies of residual scale after each work cycle, and to assure sufficient cooling of surfaces as well as their lubrication.

What matters here is to achieve the needed extent of cleaning, lubrication, and cooling of the spray heads in a quick and thorough manner with resource efficiency. The SMS group optimizes the spraying process with highly complex lightweight spray heads that produce superfine, homogeneous aerosols. As their nozzles can be operated individually, zone-wise, and with a time shift, they manage to reach complex die molds at every angle.

Dr. Waldemar Sokolowski, product manager at Oskar Frech GmbH + Co. KG in Schorndorf, will point out the potentials in additive manufacturing for optimizing foundry processes. Conformal tempering (KnT) for casting die use improves the quality of cast products, and it also has a positive effect on cycle time and service life of the components used. These conformal ducts for targeted cooling and tempering can only be produced with additive technologies.

Automotive manufacturers show the potentials of bionic light weight construction

Whether it be pivot bearings in chassis or knots in light aluminium space frames for electric vehicles – with bionically designed components manufactured through the additive laser melting process, suppliers like Hirschvogel Automotive Group (Denklingen) as well as the development services provider EDAG Engineering GmbH (Fulda) want to assist in making future cars up to 20% lighter without safety impairment, thus making them more energy efficient. But bionic design also promises advantages for the production of automobile components: with this approach, Hirschvogel Tech Solutions is reducing the weight of highly stressed grippers by 40% without impairing stiffness. When used, these additively manufactured grippers are a sure match for the required operating load. The company also relies on AM for tool design and construction, for example when installing internal cooling ducts into tools.

Recently, EDAG has presented an additively manufactured light weight construction gripping system which works without pneumatic or electric drives and without sensor technology. This approach reduces weight by up to 75% compared to the gripping technology that is currently standard – and in factories, it could assist a space-saving, resource efficient production.

AM has reached industrial production

While the presentations of the SMS group, Oskar Frech, Hirschvogel, and EDAG focus on the use of additive components in manufacturing processes, Dr. Olaf Böhme of POLIGRAT GmbH (Munich) in his lecture will deal with the peculiarities of surface processing in AM parts. Considering their usually layered construction out of molten metals and plastics, this is not at all trivial but a much-needed precondition for a broad, industrial implementation of additively manufactured components.

In their lecture program, the association illustrates that AM has reached industrial production; the technology already creates considerable added value in different areas of mechanical engineering. Additive manufacturing proves itself an innovative addition through which mechanical engineering companies can further optimize traditional technologies in their customers’ interests.