Industrialization of additive manufacturing enables production of customized helmets

Bicycle helmets made to measure and in an affordable framework for everyone – what was unthinkable a few years ago is now becoming reality thanks to digitalization and additive manufacturing. The head is simply scanned with a smartphone app and the process for the custom-made helmet is initiated. Siemens, together with EOS, has supported this vision of the bicycle helmet manufacturer Hexr. Siemens’ Digital Enterprise portfolio consists of software and automation solutions that optimize process steps along the entire value chain of additive manufacturing. This holistic approach is unique in the field of the industrialization of additive manufacturing. With the help of end-to-end solutions, Siemens has created the digital twin of an industrialized additive manufacturing factory, helping to optimize the design and streamline the production processes for customized bicycle helmets even before production begins. By combining simulation, design optimization and a high degree of automation in production, the costs per part could be predicted and significantly reduced, allowing Hexr to scale the scan-to-print application to mass production.

Whether Powder Bed Fusion, Directed Energy Deposition, Material Extrusion or Jetting
all processes have in common that workpieces are built up layer by layer based on digital 3D design data. This makes it possible to produce highly complex structures that can be both light and stable at the same time and can also be economically manufactured individually in batch size 1. Progressive digitalization offers the possibility of optimizing additive manufacturing processes. With its Digital Enterprise portfolio, Siemens offers integrated solutions for additive manufacturing. The holistic approach, which covers the entire value chain, leads to sustainable competitiveness. More than 60 OEMs worldwide are already industrializing with automation from Siemens. Siemens itself today operates more than 200 industrial AM machines at over 45 locations and thus also occupies a leading position as a producer. An expert pool for AM design through to factory planning offers customers value-add services.

With NX software, a leading integrated solution for computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering (CAD/CAM/CAE), Siemens offers functions specifically for additive manufacturing. In an integrated workflow, NX covers the entire process from development and design, through preparation of the construction job, to generation of the machine code for the 3D printing system. The entire digital process chain is represented in a single, integrated, associative software environment and can be operated via a uniform user interface. This eliminates error-prone data conversion with possible loss of information content. This increases process reliability and efficiency and enables users to mass-produce high-quality products even with complex printing processes.

The Additive Manufacturing Network – a digital platform for the AM ecosystem
The Additive Manufacturing Network from Siemens creates an online platform based on partnership, offering on-demand design, engineering know-how and production capacities for industrial 3D printing worldwide. The network immediately connects qualified members with each other to foster collaboration and process orchestration between engineers, procurement and suppliers of 3D printed parts. Parts buyers and manufacturing service providers benefit from the network because it gives them the opportunity to collaborate, bid, purchase and track orders. As a result, it simplifies the development of innovative additive manufacturing products and physical inventory can be replaced by digital inventory. The network also contributes to the Siemens vision of reducing the risks that can arise when entering additive manufacturing.

About the author

Aditya Chandavarkar

Aditya Chandavarkar

Aditya Chandavarkar is a established entrepreneur with business interests in manufacturing, innovative technology and consulting. He is the co-founder of CNT Expositions and Services (acronym for Catalysing New Technologies), which was subsequently formed by the acquisition of Inkjet Forum India – a leading knowledge sharing platform for inkjet printing technology founded by him. At Inkjet Forum India, Aditya was single handedly responsible for conceptualizing and organizing conferences and educations programs, in the area of digital textile printing and industrial inkjet.