Figure: Lightweight pinion and shaft in integral design

Additive manufacturing opens up new possibilities in the design and layout of components. Different design strategies can be pursued, which are also applied at AMLab. We support our partners in applying the possibilities of additive manufacturing to their products and implementing advanced design approaches on customer components (or former assemblies). Using common manufacturing technologies, optimal lightweight designs are difficult to implement due to process-specific constraints. Additive manufacturing processes, such as laser beam melting, can provide a remedy here. The layer-by-layer generating process sequence enables the production of complicated components in small quantities with high economic efficiency. Also, due to low geometric constraints, additive manufacturing offers the potential to implement lightweight design approaches almost without restrictions and exploit them to their full potential. Additive manufacturing processes are particularly suitable for implementing bionic lightweight structures. Complex bionic structures can only be produced economically in this way. The structure optimized by plants and animals over many millions of years can now be seen as an inspiration for technical issues. The optimization processes developed and the use of additive manufacturing make it possible to design and manufacture components that follow the general bionic rule of a position-optimal component design. In discussion with us, we can open up possibilities of implementing the findings for your design as well. Another strategy is functional integration, where additive manufacturing offers unprecedented possibilities. Here, lubricant supply, internal cooling close to the contour, and improved functionality through optimized design can be used, for example, to save mass and reduce costs. This can be combined with integral design, i.e., merging two or more components into an integrating one and reducing assembly effort achieved in the process. A recent example of this is the design of the lightweight pinion in integral design and with integrated cooling channels by Mr. Katrodiya, who won the “Design for Additive Manufacturing Challenge 2018” in Eindhoven (Netherlands) for this. In the process, the component mass was reduced by half.

Figure: additively manufactured lightweight pinion and shaft in integral design with integrated oil ducts