Although the impetus for weight reduction in aerospace compelled engineers to look deeply into topology optimisation methods to generate bionic-designs that were elegant and optimised for performance, the recent advances in 3DPrinting methodologies are enabling naval and marine industries to benefit immensely from the same quick re-design and rapid manufacturing of components. The benefits come from both, direct 3D printing of metal and plastics, and more interestingly, from hybrid techniques wherein 3D printed sand moulds and patterns can help rapidly make gravity and investment castings.
Both direct, as well as the hybrid process, require early manufacturing feasibility assessment of the topologically optimised design. With direct metal printing for example, optimal orientation of the part on the print bed, subsequent generation of the support structure, numerical evaluation of the print process, as well as an assessment of the distortion and the corresponding compensation are all important. Using the indirect method, determining if the part is being gravity or investment cast necessitates an early evaluation of defects such as to avoid performance failures. Partitioning of the dies or patterns and their 3D printing needs require proper set up.
Ravi Kunju and Raj K. Bishnoi, both of Altair Engineering explored the collaborative simulation driven design framework that captures the entire process from ideation to 3D printing for additive manufacturing. Included are compelling examples with an intention of informing and motivating the naval engineering community to embrace what is possible. Although some of the methods presented may not be suited for deployment in a moving vessel, the potential impact of rapid manufacturing in both original manufacturing and maintenance/repair for generating replacement of parts, is compelling enough to understand all of them.