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ExOne & ANSYS to Co-develop Sintering Simulation Software for Binder Jetting Systems

Largest 3D Printing Companies
  • Predictive sintering software under development to simplify binder jet 3D printing for metals
  • The beta release of software for 316L stainless steel to be released in Q1 2020
  • The software will also refine ExOne’s patent-pending 3D printed ceramic setter process
Largest 3D Printing Companies
Above: Production Service Centre (PSC) of ExOne in Mid-Atlantic. Note: Image used for representation purpose only: Image Credit: ExOne

The ExOne Company, the global leader in industrial sand and metal 3D printers using binder jetting technology, announced a software development collaboration with the global engineering simulation leader – ANSYS. The co-developed sintering simulation software will predict the collaboration sintering behaviour of binder jetting metal parts.

A Beta version of the software release for 316L stainless steel is intended to be launched in the first quarter of 2020, with modelling software for other materials expected to follow.

What is Binder Jetting?

3D Printing in India
Above: Inkjet print heads dispensing binding agent/Image Credit: ExOne

Binder jetting is the most popular and widely used 3D printing technology for mass manufacturing. It uses two materials (powdered material and a liquid binding agent) instead of only one in the material jetting process. Binder jetting has a bed filled with powdered material. A liquid binding agent is then selectively dropped from a printhead onto the powdered material so that the adjacent particles form a bond. This process is repeated until all the layers of the print are completed.

Binder jetting maintains higher productivity and lower operating costs than other additive manufacturing technologies. ExOne has been the industry leader in non-polymer 3D printing using binder jetting technology. ExOne’s binder jetting development focus includes best-in-class collaborations with various industries, universities, and labs.

Metal 3D Printer
Above: ExOne X1 160PRO™ Metal 3D Printer/Image Credit: ExOne

Over the years, ExOne has mastered this technology and it has regularly launched a number of binder jetting systems. The recent being the launch of the X1 160PRO designed for high-volume production of quality parts.

According to ExOne CEO John Hartner, “The predictive software under development between ExOne and ANSYS will streamline the process of designing metal parts for binder jetting, which includes the essential final sintering step. While ExOne customers successfully sinter parts today, the process often involves some trial and error with sacrificial parts. We are confident that new simulation software will greatly simplify this process and ease the adoption of our sustainable manufacturing process.”

From the other side of the partnership, Brent Stucker, Director of Additive Manufacturing, ANSYS commented, “Binder jetting is increasingly seen as a game-changing technology for enabling cheaper metal parts from additive manufacturing. Through our collaboration with ExOne, ANSYS is committed to providing simulation technologies to help additive manufacturing practitioners understand and control their processes and materials, increase understanding of the underlying physics driving the process, and ultimately lead to rapid certification and qualification of components made using additive manufacturing.”

Binder jetting parts are required to be sintered after primary post-processing involving removal of powder in order to fuse the particles together to form a strong bond and turn the object into a hard solid object.

This is where the collaboration will work – on the development of software that can better predict how parts will behave during sintering so that adjustments can be made or automated to achieve desired results.

Additionally, the software will also be used to refine ExOne’s patented process of 3D printing sintering setters in alumina, a fine ceramic material known for high heat resistance. Setters are used during sintering to support some geometric features during the sintering process.


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