Concept and Case Studies 2017

To enable the use of AM in broad industrial practice, specific tools are required. Function-oriented active principles are a proven tool in the design process to find solutions. Within the project corresponding active principles are developed, especially for AM, and verified on demonstrators and applications. The potential of a function-orientated AM-design is illustrated and examined on industrial applications. In 2017, the focus was on the topics “heat transfer” and “structural optimization”.

1. Objectives

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a technology that provides a high level of design freedom. The full potential of AM can only be used if possibilities and challenges of the technology are known and taken into account. In this context, information on the expected changes in performance data due to a suitable AM-design is important.

The idea of the project is to deduce active principles for defined topics using the advantages of AM. To show the practical application, active principles are used to develop generic case studies that are relevant to the industry. For this purpose, suitable design drafts are developed according to VDI 2221 and analyzed with regard to achievable performance enhancement to compare the AM-design with conventionally manufactured components.

As a long term objective, the idea of “Concept and Case Studies” shall be applied to different topics as a long term objective, starting in 2017 with:

- heat transfer
- structural optimization

The results show potential success of additive manufacturing in terms of heat transfer and structural optimization and can be used to inspire design engineers and to emphasize the technical benefits using AM.

2. Procedure

The procedure is divided into three phases (Figure 1). The first step is a general research on the subjects. The investigation does not focus exclusively on the application of AM, but on the thematic objective itself. This approach allows a systematic and comprehensive examination of the topics in general, thus making it possible to focus on relevant approaches in a meaningful and well-founded manner. In addition to the identification of already existing concepts, new approaches can be detected by using the AM-specific possibilities.

The general research approach merges into the identification of suitable active principles. In the process, already known and new approaches are considered. In some cases, simulations were performed to estimate the influence on performance data. With a focus on the application in the design process, a clear and uniform form of presentation was important. Accordingly, all active principles were recorded in a uniform table form which, in addition to a graphic illustration, contains descriptions of practical relevance as well as application examples and their quantitative impact on the performance development. The tables are presented in a catalogue which contains the active principles as well as application examples.

In the concept phase of the design process, promising concepts must be selected, which are to be examined in greater detail. To support the decision in this early phase, experience is helpful. In order to make that available for the corresponding subject area, industrial demonstrator components are optimized using a design for AM (Figure 2). These components can be used to verify and demonstrate the applicability of the active principles for heat transfer (2 & 4), structural optimization (5) and combinations of both topics (1 & 3).

Due to the generic approach and the use of function-oriented active principles, the application of the results is not limited to the demonstrators. The active principles allow a broad applicability and can be used in further components.

3. Latest results

In the field of heat transfer, a large number of applications are available, which are bound to special requirements. In order to achieve reliable results, the focus has been limited to one area that is present in a variety of products, the heat transfer between a solid and a flowing medium. For this purpose, different structures are examined and analyzed with regard to their heat transfer properties. It could be shown, that there is a high potential especially in complex applications due to the design freedom of AM; however, this can only be exploited taking the respective boundary and process conditions into consideration. Additively manufactured heat transfer structures can be specifically adapted to the respective application and used efficiently. Therefore, the design freedom can be used to improve the technical implementation of the function.

The potential of AM components in terms of structural optimization is also considered. This is a major advantage, particularly in the field of lightweight design, which is exploited by increased application in the aerospace industry. The full potential can only be achieved if, in addition to the mechanical load capacity, other functions are integrated as well. The project focuses on the combination of multi-objective optimization. Due to the topics, this was carried out specifically in connection with heat transfer.

Potential resulting from AM can be demonstrated in every field, particularly though in the combination of heat transfer and structural optimization.

4. Outlook

The basic idea and the results of the "Concept and Case Studies 2017" project have been positively evaluated. The practical form of presenting the results supports the application of AM in the design process. The basic idea will be pursued in 2018, considering the topics "magnetic flux" and "structural damping".

Project statusSuccessfully finished
Project duration12 months

100 % DMRC industry partner

Research leaderProf. Dr.-Ing. Detmar Zimmer (KAt)
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Koch (CiK)
Project coordinatorSteffen Fischer (John Deere)
Research assistantsSebastian Magerkohl, M.Sc. (KAt)
Thomas Reiher, M.Sc. (CiK)
PartnerDMRC Industry Partner
Further information :


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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Koch

Computeranwendung und Integration in Konstruktion und Planung (bis 2022)

Write email +49 5251 60-2258