Archive for the ‘MANUFACTURING PROCESS’ category

Manufacturing Engineering Basics

January 6, 2012

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Engineering activities involved in the creation and operation of the technical and economic processes that convert raw materials, energy, and purchased items into components for sale to other manufacturers or into end products for sale to the customer.

Defined in this way, manufacturing engineering includes product design and manufacturing system design as well as operation of the factory.

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More specifically manufacturing engineering involves the analysis and modification of product designs so as to assure manufacturability; the design, selection, specification and optimization of the required equipment, tooling, processes and operations and the determination of other technical matters required to make a given product according to the desired volume, timetable, cost, quality level and other specifications.

Manufacturing process:

Manufacturing process is science and technology by which a material is converted into a useful shape, with a structure and properties. In a simple technical definition of a material processing might be “all that is done to convert stuff into things”.

Manufacturing is an economic term for making good and services available to satisfy human needs. Manufacturing implies creating value by applying useful mental or physical labour.

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Modern manufacturing Environment:

In a modern manufacturing environment, an organizations strategy for highly automated systems and the role for workers in these systems are generally based on one of two distinct philosophical approaches.

One approach views workers within the planet as the greatest source of error. This approach uses computer integrated manufacturing technology to reduce the workers influence on the manufacturing process.

The second approach uses computer integrated manufacturing technology to help the workers make the best product possible. It implies that workers use the technology to control variance, detect and correct error, and adapt to a changing marketplace.

A high technology development in computing and electronics, designed to enhance manufacturing capabilities. Advanced manufacturing technology is used in all areas of manufacturing includes design control, fabrication and assembly.

This family of technologies included Robotics, Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), MRP II, Automated material handling systems, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM), Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS), and Group Technology (GT).

The best approach utilizes the attributes of employees in the factory to produce products in response to customer demand.

This viewpoint enables the employees to exert some control over the system, rather than simply serving it. The employees can then use the system as a tool to achieve production goals.

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As technology and automation have advanced, it has become necessary for manufacturing engineers to gain a much broader perspective.

They must be able to function in an integrated activity involving product design, product manufacture, and product use. They also have to consider how the product will be destroyed as well as the efficient recovery of the materials used in its manufacture.

Rapid Prototyping Technologies And It’s Applications

September 25, 2011

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The technology used in rapid prototyping printers for producing 3D models is computer assisted design (CAD) software such as Pro-e, Auto CAD, Solid-works, and etc,  which directs hardware to precise specifications to produce three dimensional models. The efficiency of rapid prototyping to produce models for various companies and allow design changes to be made quickly and easily has found this technology an excellent solution for fulfilling their rapid prototyping needs. As the implications for rapid prototyping printers continue to develop the applications for the manufacturing of products is expanding. If a product is desired by the business they can simply purchase a CAD file upload it and use rapid prototyping printers to reproduce it. With fabrication materials for use in rapid prototyping printers continuing to advance the use of metals, plastics and polymers contributes to the wide application of rapid prototyping printers.


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Convenience of Using Rapid Prototyping Printers

Rapid prototyping printers not only make product availability more convenient for companies but for consumers also. The technology once used only by manufacturers is now available for consumer use in their business or at home. Rapid prototyping printers provide an enhanced ability for the production of models and products. If a new brush or comb is desired, rapid prototyping printers can produce one very conveniently. Rapid prototyping printers can be used for a variety of products constructed of numerous kinds of materials. The technology used in rapid prototyping printers is computer assisted design software utilized to build a 3 dimensional model. The model is produced layer by layer until an exact reproduction is produced according to the specifications dictated by the program.

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If a small business needs a product or model produced there is no need to maintain workshops with specialized tools or expensive skilled craftspeople as with traditional modeling. Rapid prototyping printers can provide the technology necessary to produce 3D models more conveniently and in shorter periods of time and for less money. In today’s business environment in order for a small business to grow the capability to produce products in a cost efficient manner is crucial for success. Rapid prototyping printers provide the technology for small businesses that are seeking more convenient and cost effective manufacturing options.

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Growing Applications for Rapid Prototyping Printers

The computer assisted design applications of rapid prototyping printers are numerous compared to traditional prototyping methods. Traditional methods required the use of large, bulky and sophisticated equipment which also required a major investment for businesses to own. Rapid prototyping printers however are reasonably sized, compact and much less expensive. The set up time and simple operation has made rapid prototyping printers popular for creating models, machine parts and toys.

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The almost unlimited flexibility and potential applications of rapid prototyping printers to create replicas is a distinct applications advantage of this technology over traditional methods. If a CAD program can be created and suitable materials developed the application of rapid prototyping printers is immense.

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Also, unlike some prototyping techniques the rapid prototyping printers produces no toxic chemicals from nor uses any toxic substances during the production process. Due to their safe operation the potential locations for where rapid prototyping printers can be set up and operated increases their application potential. Additional advantages gained from the application of rapid prototyping printers is that post production work is minimized, only the removal of excess materials produced during the production process is necessary. The applications of rapid prototyping printers are many including reduced costs, efficiency and safety. As new innovations for rapid prototyping printers are developed so will additional applications and markets open up as well.

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Prototype Advantages and Disadvantages

September 25, 2011

Rapid prototype is a process wherein a working model or prototype is developed for the purpose of testing the various product features like design, ideas, features, functionality, performance and output. This process of development of working model is quite quick. The user can give an early feedback regarding the prototype. Rapid prototyping is, generally, a significant and essential part of the system designing process and it is believed to decrease the project cost and risk.

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The Rapid prototype that is developed by the process of rapid prototyping is based on the performance of earlier designs. Hence, it is possible to correct the defects or problems in the design by taking corrective measures. The product can be produced if the prototype meets the requirements of all designing objectives after sufficient refinement. There are many advantages of rapid prototyping.

ADVANTAGES:

  • Rapid Prototyping can provide with concept proof that would be required for attracting funds.

  • The Prototype gives the user a fair idea about the final look of the product.

  • Rapid prototyping can enhance the early visibility.

  • It is easier to find the design flaws in the early developmental stages.

  • Active participation among the users and producer is encouraged by rapid prototyping.

  • As the development costs are reduced, Rapid prototyping proves to be cost effective.

  • The user can get a higher output.

  • The deficiencies in the earlier prototypes can be detected and rectified in time.
  • The speed of system development is increased. It is possible to get immediate feedback from the user.

  • There is better communication between the user and designer as the requirements and expectations are expressed in the beginning itself.

  • High quality product is easily delivered by way of Rapid prototyping.

  • Rapid prototyping enables development time and costs.

  • There are many innovative ways in which Rapid prototyping can be used.

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Some people are of the opinion that rapid prototyping is not effective because, in actual, it fails in replication of the real product or system.

  • It could so happen that some important developmental steps could be omitted to get a quick and cheap working model. This can be one of the greatest disadvantages of rapid prototyping.

  • Another disadvantage of rapid prototyping is one in which many problems are overlooked resulting in endless rectifications and revisions.

  • One more disadvantage of rapid prototyping is that it may not be suitable for large sized applications.

  • The user may have very high expectations about the prototype’s performance and the designer is unable to deliver these.

  • The system could be left unfinished due to various reasons or the system may be implemented before it is completely ready.

  • The producer may produce an inadequate system that is unable to meet the overall demands of the organization.

  • Too much involvement of the user might hamper the optimization of the program.

  • The producer may be too attached to the program of rapid prototyping, thus it may lead to legal involvement.

  • The cost reduction benefit of rapid prototyping also seems to be debatable, as sufficient details regarding the calculation basis and assumptions are not substantial.

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Electron Beam Melting

September 25, 2011

Electron Beam Melting:

EBM (Electron Beam Melting) can be described as the ‘rapid prototyping’ for metals. It is better known as ‘rapid manufacturing’ method. The parts are manufactured by having the metal powder melted layer by layer through a beam of electron in high vacuum. The parts produced acquire strength, solidity, and are void-free as well. The electrons have a very high speed; around 5 to 8 times the light speed. The bombardment of these electrons takes place on the work material’s surface. This generates heat which is enough for melting the part’s surface and causing it to vaporize locally. Vacuum is required for the operation of EBM. This means that the size of work piece is directly proportional to vacuum used. This technique works on composites, ceramics, non-metals, and as stated above, metals.

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Rapid Prototyping / History / Prototyping Technologies

September 25, 2011
History of Rapid Prototyping

Rapid prototyping is quite a recent invention. The first machine of rapid prototyping hit the markets in the late 1980s. The early rapid prototyping process derived its name from the activities and the purpose for which the earlier machines were utilized.

What is Rapid Prototyping?

Rapid prototyping refers to physical objects that are automatically constructed with the aid of additive manufacturing technology.

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Rapid prototyping in its earlier days was applied to production of models and prototype parts. But nowadays with the advancement in technology, rapid prototyping is used widely for many applications that include manufacturing production-quality parts. The manufacturing of these quality parts however are very small in numbers. Apart from industrial applications, rapid prototyping is also used in sculpting. The application of rapid prototyping in sculpting is to generate fine arts exhibitions.


Rapid prototyping as mentioned earlier, involves the use of additive manufacturing technology which actually takes the virtual designs from computer aided design (CAD) or animation modeling software (AMS).

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These designs are further transformed into thin, virtual, horizontal cross sections and then the process of creating successive layers continues till the model in complete. On completion of the model, one may find that the virtual model is almost same as the physical model. Over here a process called WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) takes place wherein the final product is same as the image created. Once the layers which correspond to the virtual cross section from CAD are formed, they are either joined or fused automatically to yield the final shape. Additive fabrication has the benefit of creating any shape or geometric feature.

Working of Rapid Prototyping Machines

CAD software and the rapid prototyping machine are connected with a data interface that is called as the STL file format.

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This STL file format enables the approximation of a shape of a part or the entire assembly using triangular facets. Smaller the facet, higher is the quality surface. One should consider the meaning of the word rapid as ‘relative’, as the construction process of a model with the contemporary methods can take up a long time which can be several hours to several days. It actually depends upon the complexity and size of the model. The method used over here also plays an important role. Sometimes the type of machine being used also influences the time taken for the creation of a new model though the additive systems are applied. Even here the size and the number of models to be created play an equally important role.

There are some other techniques that are used in the construction of parts. The technique used in solid free-form fabrication involves the use of two materials in the construction of parts. One of it is the building material of that part and the other is the support material. The use of support material is to provide support to the projecting features during construction.

In case of manufacturing polymer products in higher quantities, a process called traditional injection molding is more feasible in terms of cost, but when it comes to manufacturing parts in smaller volumes, the application of additive fabrication is recommended more and is cost effective.

Prototyping Technologies

Some of the prototyping technologies used in various rapid prototyping machines are as follows:

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS):

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This technology involves the use of high power laser for the fusion of tiny particles of plastic, metal etc, into a mass that represents a desired 3D object, through the help of a SLS machine. This is an additive manufacturing technique. Materials used in this technique are metal powders and thermoplastics.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM):

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This additive manufacturing technology was invented in the late 1980s by S. Scott Crump and is used for applications like modeling, prototyping and production. This technology involves the use of eutectic metals and thermoplastics.

Stereo lithography (SLA):

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This also is an additive manufacturing technology and is used for production of models, patterns etc through the Stereo lithography machine. Photo-polymer is the principle material used in this technique.

Laminated object manufacturing (LOM):

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Paper material is the base material used in this technology. In this method layers of adhesive-coated plastic, paper or metal laminates are fused together and cut into shape with the aid of a knife or a laser cutter.

3D Printing:

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This too is an additive manufacturing technology and involves the use of various materials. In this technology successive layers of material create a 3D object. 3D printing technology actually is said to be more affordable, easy to use and speedy than the additive manufacturing technologies. Though production applications are actually dominated by the additive manufacturing technologies, 3D has a great potential to prove useful in the production applications.

Rapid prototyping, is now entering into rapid manufacturing which is more advanced as compared to rapid prototyping machines as it can be used for large products. This is an additive fabrication technique, that would be applied to the manufacturing of solid objects. This process involves the sequential delivery of energy, material (material sometimes may not be used) to the specified points in space, in order to produce a particular part. Rapid manufacturing is an advanced form of this technology.

Rapid prototyping

September 25, 2011

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It’s time for your Prototype! The Development phase is exciting, but nothing compares to the feeling of holding a working model of your product idea in your hands. Prototyping is a key phase of product design where the 3D CAD file(s) is converted to an accurate solid part that will be used for fit, function, testing, and marketing.

I have experience, and enjoy working with all types of technologies that will quickly make your product a reality. Some of these include SLA, SLS, FDM, Urethane, Cast, and CNC machining. Use of Stereo Lithography (SLA) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is very common. These processes allow parts to be built exactly as designed in a matter of hours.

There are various methods of making models, and other processes available that can bring your Invention to life. Whether you’ve created a basic concept or a fully detailed model, you have given actuality to your product. Improvements may be made now by using focus groups, brainstorming, and testing, to assure that your product is marketable to investors and valuable to consumers. Through the pages below, you can discover which process best meets your needs, or fits into your product definition.

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Introduction To Additive Fabrication

September 25, 2011

Additive fabrication refers to a class of manufacturing processes, in which a part is built by adding layers of material upon one another. These processes are inherently different from subtractive processes or consolidation processes. Subtractive processes, such as milling, turning, or drilling, use carefully planned tool movements to cut away material from a work piece to form the desired part. Consolidation processes, such as casting or molding, use custom designed tooling to solidify material into the desired shape. Additive processes, on the other hand, do not require custom tooling or planned tool movements. Instead, the part is constructed directly from a digital 3-D model created through Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. The 3-D CAD model is converted into many thin layers and the manufacturing equipment uses this geometric data to build each layer sequentially until the part is completed. Due to this approach, additive fabrication is often referred to as layered manufacturing, direct digital manufacturing, or solid freeform fabrication.

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The most common term for additive fabrication is rapid prototyping. The term “rapid” is used because additive processes are performed much faster than conventional manufacturing processes. The fabrication of a single part may only take a couple hours, or can take a few days depending on the part size and the process. However, processes that require custom tooling, such as a mold, to be designed and built may require several weeks. Subtractive processes, such as machining, can offer more comparable production times, but those times can increase substantially for highly complex parts. The term “prototyping” is used because these additive processes were initially used solely to fabricate prototypes. However, with the improvement of additive technologies, these processes are becoming increasingly capable of high-volume production manufacturing, as will be explored in the section on applications.

Additive fabrication offers several advantages, listed below.

  • Speed – As described above, these “rapid” processes have short build times. Also, because no custom tooling must be developed, the lead time in receiving parts is greatly reduced.

  • Part complexity – Because no tooling is required, complex surfaces and internal features can be created directly when building the part. Also, the complexity of a part has little effect on build times, as opposed to other manufacturing processes. In molding and casting processes, part complexity may not affect the cycle times, but can require several weeks to be spent on creating the mold. In machining, complex features directly affect the cycle time and may even require more expensive equipment or fixtures.

  • Material types – Additive fabrication processes are able to produce parts in plastics, metals, ceramics, composites, and even paper with properties similar to wood. Furthermore, some processes can build parts from multiple materials and distribute the material based on the location in the part.

  • Low-volume production – Other more conventional processes are not very cost effective for low-volume productions because of high initial costs due to custom tooling and lengthy setup times. Additive fabrication requires minimal setup and builds a part directly from the CAD model, allowing for low per-part costs for low-volume productions.

With all of these advantages, additive fabrication will still not replace more conventional manufacturing processes for every application. Processes such as machining, molding, and casting are still preferred in specific instances, such as the following:

  • Large parts – Additive processes are best suited for relatively small parts because build times are largely dependent upon part size. A larger part in the X-Y plane will require more time to build each layer and a taller part (in the Z direction) will require more layers to be built. This limitation on part size is not shared by some of the more common manufacturing methods. The cycle times in molding and casting processes are typically controlled by the part thickness, and machining times are dependent upon the material and part complexity. Manufacturing large parts with additive processes is also not ideal due to the current high prices of material for these processes.

  • High accuracy and surface finish – Currently, additive fabrication processes can not match the precision and finishes offered by machining. As a result, parts produced through additive fabrication may require secondary operations depending on their intended use.

  • High-volume production – While the production capabilities of additive processes are improving with technology, molding and casting are still preferred for high-volume production. At very large quantities, the per-part cost of tooling is insignificant and the cycle times remain shorter than those for additive fabrication.

  • Material properties – While additive fabrication can utilize various material types, individual material options are somewhat limited. As a result, materials that offer certain desirable properties may not be available. Also, due to the fabrication methods, the properties of the final part may not meet certain design requirements. Lastly, the current prices for materials used in additive processes are far greater than more commonly used materials for other processes.

Applications:

Additive fabrication processes initially yielded parts with few applications due to limited material options and mechanical properties. However, improvements to the processing technologies and material options have expanded the possibilities for these layered parts. Now, additive fabrication is used in a variety of industries, including the aerospace, architectural, automotive, consumer product, medical product, and military industries. The application of parts in these industries is quite vast. For example, some parts are merely aesthetic such as jewelry, sculptures, or 3D architectural models. Others are customized to meet the user’s personal needs such as specially fitted sports equipment, dental implants, or prosthetic devices. The following three categories are often used to describe the different application of additive fabrication and may be applied to all of the above industries.

  • Rapid prototyping – Prototypes for visualization, form/fit testing, and functional testing

  • Rapid tooling – Molds and dies fabricated using additive processes

  • Rapid manufacturing – Medium-to-high volume production runs of end-use parts