ADIRA introduces a new additive manufacturing process for large-scale parts

Product: Solid Edge
Industry: Industrial Machinery

ADIRA, based in the Porto area of Portugal, has a long history of success in the design and manufacture of sheet metal machinery. Its products include press breaks, shears, laser cutting systems and custom solutions. ADIRA sells its machinery in 60 different countries where it is used by manufacturers in many different industrial sectors. ADIRA’s most recent approach focuses on additive manufacturing with the development of a radical new powder bed fusion system, the AddCreator.

Additive Manufacturing with Powder and Bed Fusion

Bed-powder fusion is a relatively recent technology that was first proposed in 1995. Use a laser or electron beam to melt and fuse metal dust. Other than sintering, the fusion of powder and bed completely melts the metal powder to produce a solid and homogeneous mass. This process can quickly and accurately create high-strength and geometrically complex components. ADIRA’s unique implementation of additive powder bed fusion manufacturing is called “laser shingle fusion”.

Unique Scaling Capacity For Large Component Manufacturing

According to Tiago Oliveira, Chief Marketing Officer of ADIRA, “A unique feature of the AddCreator is the ability to apply mosaic laser fusion to large-scale component manufacturing. We have developed a modular, mobile construction chamber that moves around the dust bed area. From a manufacturing planning perspective, larger components are divided into smaller segments. By using our patented scanning strategies, the scanning fields overlap ensuring the correct “dot” of the tiles. This results in highly accurate and homogeneous parts.”

The combination of the manufacture of large components and the accuracy of 100 microns of the laser system is giving rise to interest in AddCreator from manufacturers in different segments of the industry. An example is from the aerospace industry for the manufacture of turbine rotors. These components feature curved geometries and complex internal chambers and are very expensive to manufacture using traditional machining methods.

Using Solid Edge to Design the AddCreator

ADIRA has been using Solid Edge successfully for several years for the design of its sheet metal manufacturing machinery. They are now applying this knowledge to the development of AddCreator. The complete AddCreator machine includes structural elements, sheet metal housings, a grated system for positioning the construction chamber, and high-precision electromechanical subassemblies. According to AddCreator project manager Joao Paulo Santos, “we have created an accurate 3D CAD model of the complete machine with more than 15,000 components. Solid Edge allows us to work accurately in this very large assembly. For example, our designers can specify that certain areas of the assembly become “inactive” when they focus on other areas. This improves system interactivity for our designers.”

It also describes some of the benefits ADIRA is achieving using unique synchronous technology within Solid Edge: “Synchronous technology allows us to design faster and make changes more easily. An example of the power of synchronous technology is its ability to work with 3rd-part CAD data. One of our partners provides us with STEP files of the components they develop and manufacture for us. Using synchronous technology, we access the complete 3D design, use it in our assemblies, and directly edit smart features like holes.”

Partnering with Cadflow and Siemens

It continues, “We also receive high-quality technical support from our local channel partner Cadflow. We work with Cadflow to train in specific Areas of Solid Edge for our designers. We also participate in your solid edge-specific capabilities webinars, for example, in the design of steel structure structural elements.”

In the future, ADIRA plans to investigate additional Solid Edge capabilities. These include generative design, technical publications, electrical circuit design, and enhanced data management capabilities. ADIRA uses Siemens SIMATIC Controllers for its machines. Closer integration of the mechanical, electrical and software aspects of its designs is another area in which ADIRA sees interesting possibilities for future collaboration with Siemens.