MULTIPE | Product development methods for mechatronic multi-material components

Product development of multi-material components

The processing of multiple powder materials in one single laser beam melting process (PBF-LB/M) poses challenges to several sub-areas of a product life cycle at once. Different material properties such as thermal conduction or absorption require special equipment technology as well as process control. Methods for product development and construction data preparation have to be further developed and rethought. One question that design engineers face as a result of the new process options is: Should the component shape or material distribution be found first in a design phase of a new product, or do development tools exist to solve this optimization task mathematically? Downstream steps such as the heat treatment of multi-material components or powder recycling, for example, require modified procedures.

A second aspect in the MULTIPE project deals with mechatronic components, which are also referred to as »intelligent« and are also being investigated in KINEMATAM and HYBDED. Which sensors are suitable for integration, which potentials can be tapped, and which procedures can be found to find the design of such components, particularly using the example of grippers (see figure 3), are questions that the researchers are addressing.

Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy
© StMWi
Calculation of material distribution using density gradient-based multi-material topology optimization
© Fraunhofer IGCV
Figure 1: Calculation of material distribution using density gradient-based multi-material topology optimization
Job removal with loose CW106C and IN718 powder
© Fraunhofer IGCV
Figure 2: Job removal with loose CW106C and IN718 powder
Sensors in additively manufactured gripper jaws enable intelligent handling
© Fraunhofer IGCV
Figure 3: Sensors in additively manufactured gripper jaws enable intelligent handling

Method development for multi-material components

The MULTIPE subproject addresses the development of a methodical approach combined with a systematic selection of suitable procedures. The method will be validated based on concrete application cases during the project.

Measurable advantages for industrial applications result from
 
  • the integration of functions
  • the integration of, e.g., sensors in intelligent products
  • the reduction of complexity in products consisting of several components

Advantages through function integration

As an application example for the MULTIPE sub-project, the highly stressed core element of modern parallel jaw grippers is presented. With its inclined effective surfaces, the so-called wedge hook transfers the pneumatic movement of a piston into a gripper jaw movement. For high force transmission, the wedge hook must have high strength and optimum sliding properties. This is a contradiction that cannot be resolved with conventional methods. The use of multi-materials offers great potential here. Thanks to the special design using two different materials, the basic structure of the wedge hook has high strength. Simultaneously, in the same production step, the sliding surfaces are made of a tribologically suitable alloy (see figure 4). This minimizes wear on the drive mechanism and allows a greater force to be applied with the same energy input.

Product quality is decisively influenced by boundary conditions such as process parameters or multi-material design. For this reason, these boundary conditions are analyzed in the MULTIPE project for novel product properties, validated based on practical application cases, and summarized in recommendations for action.

Additively manufactured gripper component - wedge hook made of CW106C and tool steel 1.2709
© Fraunhofer IGCV
Figure 4: Additively manufactured gripper component - wedge hook made of CW106C and tool steel 1.2709

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Industry solutions

The key sectors of Fraunhofer IGCV:

  • Mechanical and plant engineering
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive and commercial vehicles

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We are shaping the way into the future of efficient engineering, networked production and intelligent multi-material solutions.