Partnership Between Concept Laser and RSC Engineering for Additive Design
New Methods for Process-Oriented Design of Additive Components
Lichtenfels, December 8, 2014: Concept Laser and RSC Engineering GmbH (Cologne, Germany) have announced a strategic partnership for engineering of laser-fused components. Frank Herzog, President & CEO of Concept Laser: “We are pleased to partner with RSC Engineering and Tim Richter. Our users will benefit from our partnership with a design firm that can create process-oriented component designs using LaserCUSING for complex components. RSC Engineering’s list of references and expertise will give us a strong foundation for maximizing the potential of LaserCUSING.”
The new partnership with a highly specialized design firm follows a current market trend: In the past, there was a demand for designs that replaced cast or milled components. Today, more and more designers and engineers are realizing that additive manufacturing can open up entirely new approaches to design. “LaserCUSING-oriented” design is ideal for bionic or lightweight construction approaches that produce components with optimized geometries and new possibilities in areas such as functionality or resilience. RSC Engineering is one of today’s design pioneers that know how to incorporate the benefits of laser-fused metals into the component development process.
Advantages of LaserCUSING-oriented design
Process-oriented design means leaving behind the traditional approach of substituting a milled or cast component. In an additive design context, the advantages of LaserCUSING can be maximized: optimized design, better performance and increased added value.
There are many reasons for this, says Tim Richter: “Additional functions are now possible, such as cooling, production of moving parts in a one-shot process without assemblies, or lightweight structures that can withstand heavy stresses. Hybrid manufacturing solutions (combination of conventional processes and LaserCUSING) can bring together the best of both worlds. It’s all about understanding new possibilities and using them in a targeted way. Additive design eliminates the need for substitution and produces completely new solutions.”
Spectrum of additive design
RSC Engineering’s design activities are primarily in the areas of rapid prototyping, rapid tooling and rapid manufacturing. Reference components include solutions for lightweight design and functional integration. “Lightweight constructions are often used for component structures that cannot be adequately produced using traditional processes,” says Tim Richter, “whereas functional integration improves the quality of a component.” These approaches involve a range of strategies that RSC Engineering determines according to the each component requirement: Reduction or avoidance of support geometries, integration of cooling channels, elasticity or increased rigidity through integrated lattice structures. Tim Richter: “We focus on the component’s ultimate function right at the beginning of the design process. ‘Virtual prototyping’ is an important concept. Going from a virtual prototype to the actual product is no longer a big process thanks to LaserCUSING. This means that we can often shorten the development process significantly.”
Exhaust gas probe with intelligent functional integration
An exhaust gas probe developed by RSC Engineering is an excellent example of intelligent additive design. The probe is used to determine the composition of engine exhaust gases in a test system. The exhaust gas is up to 2100°C and under high pressure. Because of these high temperatures, the exhaust gas probe also features cooling channels for coolant flow, in addition to six pipes for collecting the exhaust gas. Conventional exhaust gas probes are typically welded, which is a time-consuming process.
By contrast, the exhaust gas probe by RSC Engineering GmbH was manufactured in one step, including all flow-optimized channels, using LaserCUSING. “Such highly effective functions can be very compactly integrated into an intelligently designed additive component,” says Tim Richter. “But the problem was in the costs. The product costing analysis for the exhaust gas probe showed that we reduced manufacturing costs by almost 60%. This demonstrates the incredible cost-cutting potential of this technology.”
Project phases of LaserCUSING design
The additive design process is based on a coordinated analysis and component design by RSC Engineering. During the first phase of the project, the potential of the component is systematically evaluated. What will it do? What were the advantages and disadvantages of previous solutions? Are there special objectives, such as cost reduction or lightweight construction? In addition to these criteria, the possible advantages of the LaserCUSING process are defined. In the second phase, precise specifications are created. This involves drafting binding functional requirements, determining the timeframe and defining batch sizes.
The third project phase is the actual design process. Tim Richter: “The key words here are design or redesign and simulation.” This involves evaluating and comparing alternative geometries as part of a virtual prototyping process. Physical functions then go through the various levels of simulation using DMU (digital mock-up), FEM (mechanical/thermal simulation) and CFD (thermal simulation). The final conclusions are also examined with respect to the consequences for manufacturing. In the last stage, implementation in the production environment is analyzed as a QA measure.
Concept Laser GmbH
An der Zeil 8
Phone:+49 (0) 9571 1679 – 0
Phone: +49 (0) 9571 1679-251
RSC Engineering GmbH
D-51147 Cologne, Germany
Phone:+49 (0) 2203 988 18 10
Reference Keyword: LaserCUSING®
The LaserCUSING® process is used to create mechanically and thermally stable metallic components with high precision. Depending on the application, it can be used with stainless and tool steels, aluminum and titanium alloys, nickel-based superalloys, cobalt-chromium alloys or precious metals such as gold or silver alloys.
With LaserCUSING®, finely pulverized metal is fused using a high-energy fiber laser. After cooling, the material solidifies. Component contour is achieved by directing the laser beam with a mirror deflection unit (scanner). Construction takes place layer by layer (with each layer measuring 15-100 microns) by lowering the bottom surface of the construction space, then applying and fusing more powder.
Concept Laser systems stand out due to their stochastic control of the slice segments (also referred to as “islands”), which are processed successively. The patented process significantly reduces tension during the manufacture of very large components.
About Concept Laser
Concept Laser GmbH is an independent company based in Lichtenfels, Germany. Since its founding in 2000, it has been a leading innovator in the field of laser melting with the patented LaserCUSING® technology across many industries.
The term LaserCUSING®, a combination of the C from CONCEPT Laser and the word FUSING (to fully melt), describes the technology: the fusing process generates components layer by layer using 3D CAD data. The method allows the production of complex component geometries without tools to create parts that are difficult or even impossible to achieve through conventional manufacturing.
With the LaserCUSING® process, conformal cooling can be used to create tool inserts as well as direct components for the jewelry, medical, dental, automotive and aerospace industries. This applies to prototypes and series parts.
The company offers both standard systems and custom concepts for metal laser melting. With Concept Laser, full-service as an option means that customers can either purchase their own metal laser melting systems or rely directly on service and development services.
Laser machining systems from Concept Laser process powder materials made from stainless steel, hot work tool steels, cobalt-chromium alloy, nickel-base alloy as well as reactive powder materials such as aluminum and titanium alloys. Precious metals such as gold or silver alloys for jewelry making are also an option.
LaserCUSING® offers new perspectives in terms of cost and speed for efficient product development in industries such as:
- Medical and dental technology
- Aeronautics and space industry
- Tool and mold construction
- Automotive and racing
- Mechanical engineering
The systems reduce development time and costs substantially while offering much greater flexibility in product development.
The high quality standards, level of experience and successful track record of Concept Laser guarantee reliable and cost-effective solutions with proven performance in daily production, with a particular focus on unit cost reductions.