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Univ. of Pittsburgh, Ansys Partner on Additive Mfring

Additive manufacturing system

Additive manufacturing system at Lawrence Livermore National Lab (Jamie Douglas, Livermore Lab)

15 June 2016. Ansys Inc., a developer of engineering simulation software and services, is starting an additive manufacturing lab at University of Pittsburgh’s engineering school. The project is initially funded by a grant from America Makes, but further financial details about the collaboration between the Pittsburgh-based company and the university were not disclosed.

Additive manufacturing is 3-D printing in industrial form, with systems often consisting of modeling software, computer controller, printing platform, and raw materials. Production sites read data from the modeling software, with the computer-controlled printer putting down successive layers of powder, metal, liquid, or plastic to create an object. While the concept is simple, additive manufacturing can be designed to meet complex production needs, such as individualized products and eventually human organs.

The Ansys Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory will be a 1,200 square-foot facility at Pittsburgh’s engineering school for solving issues facing advanced applications of the technology. Ansys and the university say the lab plans to investigate the use of lasers with metal in 3-D printing, which can result in unexpected melting, as well as deformation in the metal from rapid heating and cooling. The collaboration is expected to simulate 3-D processes to better understand how deformations happen, and prevent their occurrence.

Ansys offers a 3-D modeling software package called SpaceClaim that, according to the company, interacts with computer-assisted design software to analyze designs and simulate industrial 3-D printing for testing alternative designs and highlighting problems before production, as well as speed edits and repair. Ansys says the computational tools in its software make it possible to test a wide range of designs, materials, flows, and shapes before producing even the first prototype.

The partnership will support research and training with Ansys staff involving 3-D laser printing with metals, as well as alloys and polymers. Pittsburgh faculty and students will have access to Ansys resources to simulate and analyze stress and fatigue on materials in producing aircraft, vehicles, and medical devices. The lab will also be open to other businesses in the biomedical, aerospace, and defense industries.

The university and Ansys say their collaboration is a result of funding from National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, also known as America Makes, a public-private partnership promoting additive manufacturing. America Makes, in Youngstown, Ohio, has members from industry, academia, government, and non-government organizations.

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