Hexagon and Stratasys Build Simulation Tool

Aim is to improve 3D printing build quality, companies say.

Aim is to improve 3D printing build quality, companies say.

Lockheed-Martin Orion hatch covers. Image courtesy of Stratasys Inc.

Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division and Stratasys have applied Hexagon’s simulation technology to capture the behavior of Stratasys’ high-performance, lightweight Antero reinforced polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) materials and its additive manufacturing processes. These validated simulations offer Stratasys customers insight so they can lightweight components and introduce new sustainable aircraft and spacecraft faster, the companies report.

Validated multi-scale models of new high-performance aerospace-approved materials—Stratasys Antero 840CN03 and Antero 800NA—have been added to Hexagon’s Digimat materials exchange ecosystem, with associated print process parameters from Stratasys’ aerospace-ready 3D printers. Using these detailed models, engineers can create digital twins that predict how parts printed with the chosen material and approved aerospace-ready Stratasys printer will perform in a digital reality with real-world use cases and certification tests before physical prototypes are manufactured.

Developed to be open, Digimat software gives manufacturers ability to design lighter parts that can match metals in performance and avoid over engineering using finite element analysis and computer-aided engineering tools. Companies that use Digimat in conjunction with Hexagon’s MSC Nastran and MSC Apex will accelerate the certification and documentation of their work, according to the companies.

“As the aerospace industry continues to push for more sustainable designs, unlocking the lightweighting potential of thermoplastics and 3D printing will be key,” says Aziz Tahiri, vice president of global aerospace and defense for Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division. “By leveraging the power of our simulation technology, manufacturers gain access to proprietary information so their engineers can ‘work the problem’ with reliable information. We’re excited to see how this next chapter with Stratasys will help the industry create lighter, stronger designs in any design engineering tool with more confidence and less cost and help bring next-gen aircraft to market faster.”

“The Antero 840CN03 and Antero 800NA thermoplastics provide unprecedented strength, heat and chemical resistance,” says Foster Ferguson, aerospace business segment leader, Stratasys. “When combined with Hexagon’s simulation insights and actionable data, these 3D printed materials’ ability to replace certain applications of aluminum and steel clearly points to growing use in the aerospace industry. We believe they meet manufacturers’ increasingly complex performance needs, and by combining innovative modeling software with 3D printing, can reduce production timelines from months to days.”

Through the partnership between Stratasys and Hexagon, which has spanned more than a decade, several high-performance thermoplastic materials—including Ultem 9085, Ultem 9085 CG, Ultem 1010 and Nylon12CF—have been characterized and added to Hexagon’s Digimat material modeling software.

Antero Materials

  • The Antero 840CN03 material is a PEKK-based thermoplastic for Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) additive manufacturing that combines the physical and mechanical qualities of PEKK with carbon nanotubes for consistent electrostatic dissipative (ESD) properties. 
  • The Antero 800NA material is a PEKK-based FDM thermoplastic with mechanical properties that include high strength, high heat resistance, toughness and wear-resistance. Other uses include industrial applications where high strength and chemical resistance are needed. 

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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