Design & Build
Our Design & Build service enables you to get the most out of Additive Manufacturing.
Like all manufacturing processes, Additive Manufacturing has its limitations as well as its strengths. To fully exploit the technology you need engineers who intimately understand the manufacturing process, but also have the skills and competencies to design functional products and interact with your design and engineering team.
Fortunately at APWORKS we have that unique mix of skills.
Whether you need to reverse engineer a legacy product with no CAD or drawings, or you want to design the highest performance components for your latest product, we are your ideal partner.
Our first step is to understand your objectives and motivation for applying AM. There are many benefits of AM, but often these are misunderstood or taken out of context.
We want to ensure that your venture is a viable one, and that we fully understand your objectives and boundary conditions before we start developing a product with you.
A major advantage of Additive Manufacturing is the ability to produce a small number of parts without committing to tooling, which is expensive and time consuming. An obvious application is for legacy products which are no longer in production, but where you need to still support your customers.
But what do you do if your product pre-dates CAD?
The greatest benefits of Additive Manufacturing are only realised when the manufacturing process is considered from the concept phase of a design. Our engineers are highly skilled, experienced, and equipped with all the latest CAE tools. We work closely with your own application experts, and inject our state-of-the-art technical capabilities into your development.
DESIGN FOR MANUFACTURE
When we are involved during the concept and design optimisation phase, we can ensure that the design is manufacturable and cost optimised.
Even if you already have a mature design concept we can work with you to optimise it for manufacturing, while retaining the functional features which you have specified.
Understanding your objectives and the product context is very important for us. The following information can be useful, but is not essential (we can develop these through consultation):
- Existing Product Specification
- Functional Requirements Specification
Often the requirements for an existing similar product will include some criteria which are really just descriptive parameters and are not performance critical. Conversely they may also omit some requirements which are critical, but which are assumed to be easily met by the traditional design (e.g. abuse loads during installation or handling). This is why we need to work closely with your team to ensure that nothing is assumed which should rather be considered in detail.
Is your objective to produce a part you have already designed for AM?
No Problem - check out our Build to Print Service
Do you want to design an improved component to fit within an existing system?
Perhaps a component in a legacy system is broken and you can't source a replacement part anywhere?
No CAD data? No Drawings? No Problem.
A key enabler for designing a part which needs to integrate in an existing system is the ability to use 3D scan data to capture the part geometry and key interfaces. Through a combination of our own in-house capabilities and a trusted partner network, we can handle even the most challenging reverse engineering applications.
Our engineers can help to design and produce a component using whatever data is available. We can design for equivalence with an existing part in terms of performance, or we can design for improved performance through design optimisation.
At APWORKS we combine high end Engineering and CAE competencies with Additive Manufacturing capabilities, in a way which can normally only be found in large vertically integrated OEM's, because we were born out of one.
Even if you are a small or medium enterprise we can provide you with the ability to punch way above your weight through access to our skills.
We have world class capabilities in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Topology Optimisation, Process Simulation and Multi-disciplinary Optimisation (MDO), as well as the latest Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools.
Most importantly we have the engineering skills to use them effectively to develop high performance products.
DESIGN FOR MANUFACTURE
The combination of our Design Optimisation capabilities with our Design for Additive Manufacturing competency is what makes us unique. There is no benefit in being able to design high performing products if they are not manufacturable. Theory without execution adds no value.
One of the most common misconceptions of Additive Manufacturing is that you can make literally anything you can imagine. This misconception is understandable - when you can produce such complex components as we do, it is natural to assume we can do anything.
But Additive Manufacturing is not free from constraints - the constraints are just different, and it is only part of the story anyway. We also design considering the constraints and requirements of necessary post-processing such as subtractive machining operations, surface treatments and of course the context of the part in the final assembly.
The reality is that it isn't easy to design complex components so that they are manufacturable. It is only possible because we apply design principles which are specific to our manufacturing processes. We maximise the benefits while mitigating the weaknesses.
A part which is well designed for manufacturing, is also optimised from a design-to-cost perspective.