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  • Writer's pictureMatthias Bringezu


Updated: Sep 30, 2020

Over the last five years FORMNEXT has become one of the most important shows of Additive Manufacturing industry.

FORMNEXT took place for the fifth time in Frankfurt Germany. Over the last five years the show has grown to a total of 852 exhibitors. This year more than 34 500 visitors attended over the 4 days. So it has become a real magnet for the Additive community. This year FORMNEXT was held on four floors in two connected halls with more than 50 000 square meters.Visitors attendance has increased by around 30%. So the boom in the Additive Manufacturing industry certainly keeps going.

The ongoing trends are seamless data preparation, automation solution for build-box and powder handling as post-processing technologies. Metal coating of LB-PBF parts was one thing showcased by several companies. A thin coating of aluminium on the poly-amid parts improves mechanical as thermal properties significantly whilst keeping costs down. A further advantage of this process is the higher freedom of design without support structures. The spray-head shown below was showcased by SMS Group. The company operating an Additive Industries metal LB-PBF system choose polymer LB-PBF / SLS plus a metal coating to make this part withstand the internal pressure as the high temperature it is exposed to when cooling and lubricating large-format forging tools.

The titanium aircraft Gimbal by DMRC Paderborn and Liebherr Aerospace Lindenberg GmbH is a perfect example demonstrating why topology optimisation (TO) and Additive Manufacturing are such a great combination. The TO of the part resulted in a 35% weight reduction while maintaining the stiffness of the component using more information about this project can be found in the annual report of DMRC (page 48).

A different kind of optimisation was used for the design of this piston of a heavy-duty diesel engine – the piston was developed by IAV GmbH and showcased by OERLIKON. The piston has cavities, designed according to a simulation (CFD). Simulated were the flame fronts of the burning fuel during combustion. The very organic shape of the pockets enables most efficient combustion. Further, the piston has a very complex internal cooling features. More details about the project in this paper.

Aluminium coated SLS spray-head to cool forging tools made by SMS Group

LB-PBF titanium Aircraft Gimbal made by DMRC Institute

Piston with flame front optimized surface for optimal efficiency by OERLIKON

LB-PBF aluminium piston with optimized flame for higher efficiency by OERLIKON

Here just a few highlights of parts shown at FORMNEXT 2019

Post processing

A quick note on post-processing and finishing technologies. This segment of the market is gaining more and more attention. Predominantly processes to smooth and colour SLS and MJF parts in the polymer sector. In the metal sector, it is more and more about powder removal with emerging processes to automatically shake and tilt parts to drain powder from internal cavities and cooling channels. Further, using electrochemical processes to remove support structures as finish and polish surfaces.

Check out also our Facebook page to learn more about the PURMUNDUS Additive Manufacturing Design Challenge held at FORMNEXT

Check out our AM-event calendar for 2020

Text and images by Matthias Bringezu (All rights reserved 2019) Link: FORMNEXT

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