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Wohlers Associates to Partner with Materialise on a DfAM Course

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Wohlers Associates, Inc., a consulting firm focused on additive manufacturing and 3D printing worldwide, today announced a three-day course on design for additive manufacturing (DfAM). It is being held in collaboration with Materialise, an industry-leading provider of 3D printing software and services. The course is May 31 – June 2, 2017 at the Materialise headquarters location in Leuven, Belgium. Wohlers Associates has twice offered a similar course for NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, which received high marks for its effectiveness.

“We are very happy to collaborate with Materialise, a company with an outstanding reputation and extraordinary track record,” said Terry Wohlers, principal consultant and president of Wohlers Associates. “Designers, engineers, and managers wanting to learn how to design products for AM will benefit from more than 55 years of combined company experience at Materialise and Wohlers Associates.”

The course will provide expert instruction on methods of DfAM, such as the consolidation of many parts into a fewer number of them. This can result in significant savings in manufacturing processes, part numbers, assembly, labor, inventory, and certification paperwork. The course will also include topology optimization, which is a technique of letting mathematics decide where to place material to optimize the strength-to-weight ratio. It can produce organic and “bionic” structures that reduce material and weight by up to 60%, while preserving strength.

The following image shows a hydraulic manifold for an Airbus A380 spoiler, a wing device that slows or causes an airplane to descend. The version on the left is a conventionally-machined manifold. The one on the right was redesigned using methods of DfAM and produced by additive manufacturing. It flew on the A380 in March 2017. The AM version reduced weight by 55%—a significant benefit in aircraft manufacturing.

Participants will gain valuable hands-on experience by designing parts using CAD and special software tools for additive manufacturing. Some of the designs will be built on industrial AM equipment at Materialise so that attendees can evaluate the results. 3D scanning for custom product development will be included as an exercise that was popular among the NASA engineers.

Associate consultant Olaf Diegel, PhD, will serve as the lead instructor. His rare combination of experience with both conventional design and manufacturing and DfAM makes him one of very few people capable of leading quality DfAM instruction and hands-on learning. “Olaf has created more than 80 commercial products and is an engaging instructor, making him ideal for the course,” Wohlers stated. “The people at NASA had great things to say about him.”

Wohlers Associates is an independent consulting firm that provides technical, market, and strategic advice on the new developments and trends in additive manufacturing, 3D printing, and rapid product development. Wohlers Associates has completed consulting projects for more than 250 client organizations in 25 countries around the world. The company has also provided detailed advice to more than 175 companies in the investment community. For 22 consecutive years, the company has published the Wohlers Report, the undisputed industry-leading publication on additive manufacturing and 3D printing worldwide.

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