Research Project: CustoMat_3D AM for Serial Production in the Automotive Industry
Altair provided EDAG Group with software at no charge for the development of a novel, crash-resistant aluminum alloy within the scope of a research project supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Altair announces that the research project “CustoMat_3D” for the development of customized LAM aluminum materials for structural components in the automotive industry, which has been supported by the company, has been successfully completed and all project lines have been reached. After three years of research and development by ten collaborating companies, the EDAG Group, jointly with Daimler, Leibniz-IWT, Fraunhofer IAPT, and ECKA, now launches a newly patented alloy on the market, which has both higher ductility and higher breaking elongation in the event of an impact.
The three-year project focused on additive manufacturing with regard to the series production of vehicle components, as well as on a holistic approach taken by the companies and research institutes involved, who studied the entire process chain from material production to simulation and component development. Starting with alloy definition and powder production (at the Leibniz Institute for Material Oriented Technologies and at ECKA Granules Germany GmbH), through powder bed-based laser beam melting (at Fraunhofer IAPT, GE Additive and FKM Sintertechnik GmbH) and simulation (at Fraunhofer ITWM and MAGMA Giessereitechnologie GmbH) to validation and demonstration of performance. This was performed by Mercedes-Benz AG and EDAG Engineering GmbH using Altair OptiStructTM, which Altair provided in addition to training and consulting free of charge.
In detail, the structural optimization with OptiStruct used material cards generated from the material properties to make the components as light as possible while maintaining the performance. The structural optimization made it possible to reduce the weight of the two selected components, the wheel carrier and the dome damper, while retaining their performance attributes. Weight savings of up to 37 % were achieved.
The newly developed material was also used to study hybrid processes such as laser cladding and joining techniques. In the process simulation, it was possible to transfer the processes on the microscopic level of the powder via representative elements into the macroscopic simulation of the component, thus significantly reducing the computing time. As a result, residual stresses and distortions of the components can be made visible and reduced even before production.
“Altair OptiStruct helped us to set up a continuous process chain and improve our overall development process,” said Stefan Caba, project manager at EDAG Engineering GmbH. “Thanks to the structural optimization with OptiStruct, we received a manufacturable end product that is not only lighter but is also able to take over additional functions. What is special about OptiStruct is that we were also able to consider requirements from the additive manufacturing process, such as component alignment. In addition, the simulation-based optimization significantly shortened the entire development time and the material-specific process chain.”