Altas Copco redesigns products for additive manufacturing

In order to apply additive manufacturing (AM) successfully, it is crucial that you already have the necessary knowledge of the technologies involved in-house. Atlas Copco is one of the leaders where AM is concerned with the manufacture of their products. Because integration of AM in production involves more than just technology, and because product design and redesign is important, the company's designers attended the 'Design for Additive Manufacturing' masterclass at Sirris.

Atlas Copco Airpower is the world's most specialised knowledge centre for pneumatic technology and it is also the international headquarters of the compressor subsidiary within the Atlas Copco Group. Its activities encompass the design and manufacture of oil-free and oil injection compressors, mobile air compressors, turbo compressors and expanders, power generators, equipment for treating air and air management systems. Moreover, it also provides industrial solutions and services on a rental basis, all around the world. 
Atlas Copco Airpower is part of Atlas Copco, a leading supplier of solutions within the field of industrial productivity.

Sofie Deprez, Team Leader at Labo Materials in the air compressors department in Wilrijk wanted to rate additive manufacturing more precisely, being a relatively new technology, and also find out more about the possibilities with respect to design. That is why she actively searched around for specific information about when and where AM could be successfully deployed. The 'Design for Additive Manufacturing' masterclass offered by Sirris, especially for designers and adapted to the applications at Atlas Copco, turned out to be the most suitable answer.

Information adapted to specific applications

During the masterclass various technologies were explained, with practical design rules and tools being supplied and the entire design process was gone through, in which each step was examined regarding the knowledge required to ensure that AM could be successfully implemented. The participants were able to bring along their own case studies that were then redesigned during the masterclass so that they could be used for production with AM.

Sofie Deprez: "A design that has been altered to suit AM offers important advantages for the product and the process. Not only can the logical chain be optimised, but the technology makes it possible to integrate functionalities into the product design and also the weight can be reduced, thereby resulting in a continuous flow of new and innovative products."

Eye opener

Sofie Deprez had already collected a wide assortment of information and had initially thought about an internal training session, but eventually opted for the masterclass on the recommendation of an external AM consultant: "What we appreciated most was the experiences we were able to gain from the industrial case studies. This made it possible to learn new ways of thinking. This turned out to be a real eye opener for our designers."

The design department could continue working on successful case studies after the masterclass and started looking for new opportunities. When stepping over to new ways of working, both awareness and communications become the key elements, but thanks to the experience gained in the masterclass, the initiative will also now come from the people themselves.

Would you like to know what switching to additive manufacturing could mean for your products or processes?

On 19 and 20 May, and 11 June 2015, Sirris will once again be giving the 'Design for Additive Manufacturing' masterclass where you can acquire the knowledge and understanding for designing components specifically for AM. This would result in you fully benefiting from the available advantages. Would you like more information about the masterclass? You can find it here!

Take a look at the masterclass teaser!

All practical information and registration details are given in our agenda!