Use Cases & Whitepapers

We Support our Customers’ Innovation in Industrial AM

At Forward AM, we live the ambition to drive the industrialisation of additive manufacturing. In order to support our customers, we have developed a full range of case studies and white papers.

We tailor solutions to meet specific needs and offer end-to-end-solutions along each step of the supply chain – from the very first design idea through to the finished product.
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At Forward AM, we live the ambition to drive the industrialisation of additive manufacturing. In order to support our customers, we have developed a full range of case studies and white papers. We tailor solutions to meet specific needs and offer end-to-end-solutions along each step of the supply chain – from the very first design idea through to the finished product.

Airflow Pipe

In the aerospace industry, every single gram counts. As a matter of fact, the #1 way for aerospace companies to save money is by reducing weight.…

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Battery Case for Caravans

The automotive industry is pressing ahead with the development of electric mobility. The major OEM shift to manufacturing more and more electric…

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Dashboard Spacer | Junction Box Housing

Staying Ahead of the Curve is Decisive: Motorsports pros take this statement literally. To gain that crucial competitive edge, pro racers constantly…

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Engine Mount

In today’s electric as well as internal combustion-powered cars, engine mounts are the single most important component in reducing the transmission…

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Motorbike Saddle

Whether it’s a bicycle or motorbike, the saddle is the paramount comfort factor of every two-wheeler. Bikers know that a comfortable saddle is vital…

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The HYMER VisionVenture – the luxurious campervan of the future featuring numerous 3D printed parts from Forward AM

The #vanlife of the Future – Realized by BASF for HYMER

Global demand for premium Recreational Vehicles (RVs) has been rising continually for several years now and is currently at an all-time high. More…

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Insert for Insulating Glass Units

Architecture is all about creativity and freedom of design. Hence it is not surprising that Additive Manufacturing (AM) has made an impactful…

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Camera Housing

At first glance, it seems to be a pretty small part – but in fact it’s tremendously important, as it contributes to bringing Additive Manufacturing…

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Protective Helmets

In baseball, hockey, football and all other sports, head trauma through collision is an omnipresent risk for all athletes. And it doesn’t stop with…

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Mold and Last

Breathtakingly rapid development cycles and a fast-moving supply chain that spans the globe – the footwear industry is dynamic like no other. With…

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Surfboard

The challenge seemed as big as the Pacific Ocean itself: Produce an outstandingly robust and reliable filament – made 100% of recycled waste – that…

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Tooling Fixtures

Electronic communication systems, avionics, space intelligence, cyber security and weather monitoring solutions – American company L3HARRIS…

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Exoskeleton

Every year approximately 130,000 more people suffer from paraplegia, most often caused by an accident. This imposes tremendous restrictions and a…

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Prosthetic Socket

Today amputees requiring prosthetic limbs have to put up with often uncomfortable, poorly fitting sockets. A collaboration between ProsFit and…

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Improving Ultrasint® TPU01 part properties by PostPro® vapour smoothing

With Additive Manufacturing, it can be challenging to produce parts with professional-grade surface finishes, making post-processing an essential…

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Enabling Flame Retardant Applications with Ultrasint® PA6 FR

In the fast-evolving Additive Manufacturing industry, safety standards and reliable performance are key to facilitating manufacturers’ transition to…

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Increasing Part Stiffness of Lightweight FFF End-Use Parts by Simulation

In Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), print settings are usually calculated with algorithms of 3D printer related slicing software. Although often…

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Archives Use cases & whitepapers

Concept Van HYMER VisionVenture

Global demand for premium Recreational Vehicles (RVs) has been rising continually for several years now and is currently at an all-time high.

The HYMER VisionVenture – the luxurious campervan of the future featuring numerous 3D printed parts from Forward AM

Project Breakdown

Industry
Automotive

Product
Exterior Side Cover, Wheel Arch, Interior Lamp

Why Forward AM?
Perfect-fit Materials, Virtual Engineering Expertise, Post-Processing Solutions

Forward AM materials used
Ultracur3D® EPD1006, Ultrasint® TPU01, Ultrafuse® 316L, Ultrasint® PA6 FR, Ultrasint® TPU 88A

The result
Fast and cost-effective appearance prototypes

Destination: Freedom

More and more vacationers want to escape the uniformity, inflexibility and high cost of hotel destinations, and shun the inconvenience of camping in adult life. They prefer freedom of choice regarding their vacation destination and the ‘mobile cocoon’ lifestyle that a modern RV such as a campervan offers. Some are even selling up their bricks and mortar dwellings completely and moving permanently into a fully-featured, spacious and highly mobile home on wheels.

So how will RV life look in 2025?

This is the question that HYMER, the world’s leading manufacturer of premium campervans, and BASF asked themselves back in 2018. The joint answer is the HYMER VisionVenture: a fully functional and outstandingly well-equipped glimpse into the future of campervan life. Using more than 20 innovative BASF materials and the development expertise of the BASF Creation Center, HYMER has created a new class of campervan that completely changes the game thanks to its lightweight construction, energy efficiency and autonomy, and a whole new level of ergonomic interior design.

Conceived completely from the ground up, the campervan of the future features groundbreaking solutions based on advanced BASF materials for the vehicle’s bodywork, energy management, thermal insulation, lighting, heating and entertainment systems as well as bespoke NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) measures. It features over 100 3D printed components from Forward AM, using four high-performance materials such as the exterior side covers, individualized wheel arch linings and an interior lamp.

Challenge: Fast and cost-effective appearance prototypes for concept vehicles

When developing concept vehicles like the VisionVenture, part production is oftentimes challenging: low volume production of only one piece per part, numerous design iterations to identify the final part and all this without having specific tools in place. AM is the perfect solution for these requirements, as it enables appearance prototypes providing the design of the final part without having to perform like the series part.

Exterior side covers

On modern RVs, they need to be able to take heavy punishment over hundreds of thousands of miles in harsh operating conditions and extreme temperatures. They need to demonstrate long-term structural resistance to vibration, pebble impact, thermal deformation and UV degradation, minimize NVH and maximize thermal insulation to optimize passenger comfort – and all this at minimal component weight to contribute to excellent vehicle fuel efficiency.

For this application, the material had to accelerate design iterations in the prototype phase to significantly reduce development costs, deliver a perfectly smooth surface that was easy to finish and coat and be 3D printable in matching dimensions as well.

The material of choice for the large panels is Forward AM’s Ultracur3D® EPD 1006, which proved to be the stand-out solution to accelerate design iterations in the prototyping phase, thus minimizing development cost and maximizing speed to the definitive component. The initial tests confirmed that the exterior side covers in Ultracur3D® EPD 1006 printed quickly and with extremely high structural consistency, with minimal post-processing effort required to produce perfect coating results in finishing.

The 3D printed and coated exterior side covers

Wheel Arch

3D printed wheel arch with individualized logo
3D printed wheel arch with individualized logo (Source: HYMER GmbH & Co. KG)

Looking at another component, Forward AM was challenged to design a mass-customizable wheel arch lining for the VisionVenture.

Campervans are often sold to rental agencies as well as to individual consumers. Both customer groups have a strong desire to customize their vans – private buyers wanting bespoke fittings and finishings on their vehicle to reflect their own unique tastes and personality, while rental fleet operators require their highly mobile investments to display their unique company logos. Granting this wish has so far been prohibitively expensive, as mass customization has not been economically viable for OEM RV brands using traditional manufacturing materials and technologies. Worse still, a corporate design, logo or name applied as a coating or foiling can discolor or even structurally degrade the underlying material, often necessitating a full panel replacement or at least a full professional respray. This makes removing or renewing customized exterior elements on RVs very time and cost-intensive.

Hymer needed an RV component in a material on which logos and names could be 3D printed during the original production process itself. Extremely high printing precision to accurately reproduce often complex logos and name artwork, long-term deformation and fissuring resistance under harsh operating conditions, outstanding wear-resistant finishing and of course maximum process cost-effectiveness were the criteria for Forward AM to deliver a solution.

By identifying Ultrasint®  TPU01 as ideal AM material for this mission; long-term structural integrity under persistently harsh real-world operating conditions thanks to excellent shock absorption, flexibility and elasticity to withstand vibration and eliminate deformation were guaranteed. Crucially for this specific application, Ultrasint® TPU01 delivers the print consistency and accuracy as well as thermal and UV stability required to print the edges and contours of highly detailed 3D designs – and keep them sharp after hundreds of thousands of miles on the road.

A further key advantage is that components printed in Ultrasint® TPU01 require a minimum of post-process finishing and bond easily with a wide range of specialized coatings and finishes. After 3D printing in Ultrasint® TPU01, the VisionVenture’s wheel arch liners are finished with the advanced Elastocoat C polyurea spray coating by BASF, which gives the liner and its unique, customer-specified design long-lasting protection from stains, scratches, and pebble impact damage.

Using Ultrasint® TPU01, Forward AM successfully 3D printed wheel arch liners for the VisionVenture that integrated bespoke customer logos and name artwork right from the OEM production process.

Interior Lamp

Also for the interior, the VisionVenture holds several 3D printed applications – such as wall hooks, furniture handles, a tablet holder or a hanging lamp in several designs.

The lamp housing as well as the lamp shade are 3D printed with materials from Forward AM – Ultrasint® PA6 FR polymer powder being the perfect fit as it is the first officially UL certified flame retardant PA6 powder for Laser Sintering (more information here). The lamp shade was printed with Ultrasint® TPU 88A – the flexible, translucent material opens up new possibilities for designers and interior stylists. Topping it off, the lamp shade features the flexible Ultracur3D® coating, in a specifically for this project developed color. By combining the high-performance materials smartly, a complex, illuminable geometry was achieved – resulting in a lamp that outshines the traditionally used ones in RVs.

The interior of the VisionVenture with 3D printed lamp using flame-retardant Ultrasint® PA6 FR by Forward AM (Source: HYMER GmbH & Co. KG.).

Solution: Cost-effective appearance prototypes with high-performance materials

The success of the VisionVenture is great: it has already received the German Design Council’s highest accolade of „Best of Best“ in the Automotive Brand Contest. At 2020’s European Innovation Award the VisionVenture was awarded in not just one but three categories: Interior Design, Exterior Design and Blogger’s Favourite. The VisionVenture was also one of the biggest visitor magnets at the 2019 K Trade Fair in Düsseldorf, Germany, the world’s premier showcase for the latest innovations in the synthetic industrial materials and fast-growing Additive Manufacturing (AM) sector.

More information about HYMER VisionVenture and BASF here.

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Forward AM is Revolutionizing Tooling in the Footwear Industry

Breathtakingly rapid development cycles and a fast-moving supply chain that spans the globe – the footwear industry is dynamic like no other.

Project Breakdown

Industry
Consumer Goods

Product
Molds and Lasts / Footwear

Why Forward AM?
High-performance AM materials plus deep sector-specific expertise

Forward AM materials used
Ultracur3D® ST45, Ultracur3D® RG35

The result
Tools for the footwear industry enabling faster and more cost-efficient design cycles, shorter time-to-market, and integrated supply chains

Challenge: Staying one step ahead

With the rise of small, highly innovative and truly agile players, this industry is gaining even greater momentum, making it even more crucial for footwear OEMs and suppliers to stay ahead of the game.

Traditional manufacturing has clear limitations when it comes to footwear: The development of a new model prototype and manufacturing different styles in numerous sizes are lengthy processes that eat up time – a precious commodity in this fiercely competitive industry.

Mass 3D printing often comes to mind when considering a printed final part. Until this becomes the footwear industry’s new reality, OEMs and suppliers can already harness the clear benefits of 3D printing in their existing production processes: Additive Manufacturing (AM) now changes the game, as it delivers the competitive advantages of 3D printed molds.

Brand-new molds – overnight

For the footwear industry, molds are a great way to develop new models and designs in a fraction of the time required in traditional manufacturing. Thinking additive radically shortens prototyping, design iterations, and functional tests. Even better, AM’s small batch capability gets a new model mass-production ready without the previous wearisome lead times. This brings a new style to market much faster than before, opening up new competition opportunities for footwear OEMs and suppliers. AM molds, materials and technology now make design individualization, rapid adaptation and size ranging beautifully easy – and irresistibly cost-effective.

Forward AM’s Ultracur3D® ST45 resin is the material of choice for 3D printed molds. This advanced photopolymer delivers high strength, toughness and impact resistance, as well as excellent temperature stability. Thanks to Ultracur3D® ST45’s easy release, removing the shoe sole from the mold is smooth and rapid.

PU mold printed with Ultracur3D® ST45 by SoonSer (a trademark of Soonsolid) (Source: Forward AM).
The 3D printed last by Forward AM. Left: Printed with infill to reduce material consumption. Right: Full material print for maximum strength. (Source: Forward AM).

Leading footwear OEMs and key industry suppliers know it’s crucial to keep their IP for molds fully confidential, making sure their secret geometries really stay secret – a tall order, considering today’s complex worldwide supply chains and warehouses across the globe. AM now makes it possible for OEMs to produce locally and even in-house: This maximizes IP security while minimizing long, environmentally unfriendly shipping and high-cost stockage.

The ‘last’ is another essential tool in shoemaking. This mechanical form is shaped like a human foot and is used to manufacture and repair shoes. Usually made from polyethylene or hardwood, its form and function have remained unchanged for centuries. AM delivers a definitive game-changer here too: 3D printing the last cuts the lead time to just 6 to 12 hours. Realized with Ultracur3D® RG35, post-processing, fine-forming and polishing become simplicity itself. Even drilling and tapping to add holding pins or hinges is easy and rapid.

Applying AM technology to lasts brings a further decisive competitive advantage: Footwear manufacturers usually have to produce and store lasts in every single shoe size, resulting in a major warehousing headache. Migrating to AM takes storage digital and makes costly warehousing obsolete.

Harnessing the benefits of Additive Manufacturing opens up new possibilities for the fast-moving footwear industry. By 3D printing molds and lasts, OEMs and suppliers can now put their best foot forward, saving valuable time and moving quicker to market. Forward AM is keeping key industry players one step ahead of the competition.

By utilizing AM, we can greatly speed up our PU mold design and development pace. We are very satisfied with the durability of the 3D-printed mold and flexibility of the 3D-printing process. AM has not only reduced our cost of development, but also added additional dimensions and possibilities to our design loop. We truly believe that AM can serve the footwear industry better.”

Dr. Darren Shih, Innovation Director, Longterm Concept Industry Corp.

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How UniverCell and Forward AM Sustainably Energize Caravans

The automotive industry is pressing ahead with the development of electric mobility.

Project Breakdown

Industry
Caravanning Industry

Product
Battery case for caravans

Why Forward AM?
Perfect-fit material, 3D design optimization

Forward AM materials used
Ultrafuse® PLA PRO1, Ultrafuse® BVOH

The result
Battery cases tailor-made to individual measurements at high speed, enabling customers to move to lithium-ion technology without having to adjust their manufacturing process. By optimizing the existing design for AM, a reduction in print time by 75 percent and in cost by 50 percent per part was achieved.

Going electric with lithium-ion batteries

The major OEM shift to manufacturing more and more electric vehicles also means demand for a specific component type is experiencing an all-time high: The lithium-ion battery (LIB). Thanks to its attractive properties such as high energy efficiency, lack of memory effect, long cycle life, high energy and power density, LIBs are currently the most suitable energy storage device for powering electric vehicles (EVs). To satisfy the great demand from the automotive industry for LIBs, battery manufacturers are focusing their development and production capacities strongly on this kind of battery, tailored for cars. But there are other automotive segments that are also shifting to the sustainable electric drive with LIBs – the caravanning industry, for example. The current high demand for lithium-ion technology for cars has led to acute scarcity of LIBs for caravans, hindering this segment’s OEMs in taking the next step towards greater sustainability.

Here’s where UniverCell and Forward AM step in. German start-up UniverCell specializes in producing electrodes, cells, modules and batteries based on lithium-ion technology. With the goal of delivering solutions tailored to every OEM customer’s needs, they partnered with Forward AM to develop a solution for LIB-specific battery cases for the caravanning industry.

Dynamizing the business model with AM – high speed, high customization

The dynamic automotive industry is all about speed and the ability to meet individual customer needs – and the sheer flexibility of Additive Manufacturing by Forward AM makes it a perfect technology for the automotive industry. A major acceleration in redesign speed and new freedom for customization are compelling arguments for AM.

Innovative business models benefit from AM in several ways. Building prototypes to present proof of concept is decisive in convincing and acquiring customers. Besides this, AM enables the rapid, cost-effective small-batch fabrication of display models, giving customers a realistic idea of the final product. What’s more, by setting up 3D print farms at UniverCell, the production could scale-up quickly and enable the manufacture of customer-specific cases, flexible enough to deliver tailored solutions even for the mass battery market.

While UniverCell’s expertise in the LIB market and deep product know-how was essential for the development of the battery case, the advanced Additive Manufacturing material from Forward AM was key to achieving the solution: Battery cases for LIBs optimized for caravans. This gives the caravan industry a battery case in production measurements and the possibility to test it under real-world conditions. These factors mean OEMs can at last reliably compare LIB technology to conventional lead-acid batteries with regard to in-operation performance scope, system integration, and pricing.

Result: A Li-ion battery case tailored to each customer’s needs

Harnessing the benefits of Additive Manufacturing enabled the battery case to be manufactured quickly and at a highly customized level. Forward AM carried out “thinking additive” component optimization to redesign the part from scratch through Virtual Engineering and precise simulation:

Small changes, great impact: reduction in print time by 75 percent, in cost by 50 percent per part

The design optimizations done by Forward AM show that supposedly minor changes go a long way:

  • adapting the part by optimizing the paths the printhead follows
  • removing supporting structures and replacing them by infill structures, which allow the same level of stability at significant reduction of the material required and the time needed for printing
  • using the water-soluble filament Ultrafuse® BVOH as support material to decrease time needed for post-processing

In total, these optimizations result in a much shorter print time – from previously 11 days down to 4 days per part – as well as a significant cost reduction by 50 percent.

The component optimization by Forward AM demonstrates that no tremendous changes are needed to significantly improve battery-case functionality – the right combination of small, carefully targeted design tweaks already have a major impact on performance and cost efficiency.

The successful printing of the battery case becomes possible with the AM material of choice: Ultrafuse® PLA PRO1 by Forward AM. This advanced filament is an engineering thermoplastic that prints at speeds previously considered impractical, making it ideally suited for the rapid design iterations of modern prototyping. The high print speed and precision allows the rapid production of even larger batches – the perfect solution for a fast-growing start-up and its highly scalable product.

The joint approach delivered convincing results:

“’Thinking additive’ enabled us to manufacture prototypes rapidly and cost-effectively, so that our customers were quickly able to touch and test. Speed to hands-on will be an essential factor in future if you want to develop high-tech products that convince and inspire.”

Dr Stefan Permien, UniverCell CEO

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In Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), print settings are usually calculated with algorithms of 3D printer related slicing software.

Although often users can modify relevant settings manually or make use of fully automated data preparation, there is always the risk of unknown part performance in terms of strength. In combination with Smart Slice for Ultimaker Cura from Teton Simulation, Forward AM‘s Ultrafuse® PAHT CF15 filament enables users to optimize print settings for their individual application.

Read this whitepaper to learn how to optimize print time and, on top, to receive a predictable mechanical part performance when using Ultrafuse® PAHT CF15. What’s more, the additionally reduced part weight unlocks to new application areas like transportation or other use cases where light weight structures are required. The close collaboration between Forward AM and Teton Simulation lead to an excellent validation of Ultrafuse® PAHT CF15 in Smart Slice for Ultimaker Cura.

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Archives Use cases & whitepapers

Optimal Daylight Design for Buildings with OKAfree

Architecture is all about creativity and freedom of design. Hence it is not surprising that Additive Manufacturing (AM) has made an impactful entrance into the building design and construction industry, opening up new worlds of possibility for architects, designers, and engineers.

Project Breakdown

Industry
Construction

Project
Insert for Insulating Glass Units

Why Forward AM?
Material development | Printing Know-How | Production of inserts

The result
Integrated functional design solution for daylight management, combined with individual design freedom

Benefits of AM in architecture and construction

AM has numerous fields of application in architecture, from constructing concept models, through interior design, to building entire structures. Combining computational design with Additive Manufacturing (AM) unleashes the full potential of digital manufacturing and maximizes effectiveness in the design and build process. Structures that until now were considered too complex to build are now designable and adaptable realities.

Above all, AM enables architects to offer their clients customized designs and unique pieces. AM provides architects, designers with a breathtakingly powerful tool, letting them visualize and modify a 3D concept model quickly and cost-effectively, saving precious time to dedicate to making their inspiring visions a reality.

Challenge: Guiding natural daylight in buildings

While it is quite common to apply AM in the production of load-bearing components made of titanium, ceramics or fiber-reinforced plastics, the possibilities of AM with clay, concrete and glass are less developed and still infrequently applied. For architects, finding ways of integrating natural daylight in buildings is often challenging – most rely on horizontal blinds. Integrating these elements usually causes abrupt changes in visual perspectives and gives designs a rather technical, functional aesthetic. What’s more, current approaches to harnessing daylight often constrict architectural design possibilities, as so far there has been no solution that allows the customization of every building. Large-format 3D printers with a load volume of 1m3 are able now to print AM glass inserts to serve this application field.

The printing process of the glass insert

Solution: Multifunctional glass insert

Effective daylight usage combined with design freedom (source: Forward AM).

Together with OKALUX, a leading supplier of design and functional insulating glass for façades and interiors, Forward AM developed a solution based on 3D printed glass inserts: “OKAFree”. It provides highly advanced, multifunctional façade solutions consisting of insulating glass panes. These shade interiors from the sun and ensure privacy, while guiding and dispersing natural light – all combined in one single design. The environmental influences and mechanical stresses on 3D printed inserts between hermetically sealed glass panes are almost zero, making such applications risk-free provided the right material is used. To achieve the best result possible, Forward AM developed a material specifically for the glass inserts. With a long track record in material development, Forward AM tailor-made a material based on
Ultrafuse® – ensuring both functionality and aesthetics.

The design of the insert is created completely digitally and parametrically, allowing the architect to tailor the glass insert to each single building and even for each single glass pane. It opens up previously impossible design options – for example, any natural organic design can now be 3D scanned, digitalized, processed and printed in any size. This integrated solution enables architects to create technical functions suited to each individual building, overcoming previous restraints. The optimal use of daylight is now possible, which is key to low energy consumption as well as high user comfort and individual wellbeing. What’s more, by applying metallic PVD coatings from Forward AM, the reflection of each pane can be adapted individually.

Example how OKAfreeD can provide different privacy levels along a single floor facade (source: Forward AM).

“For us, material, application and process always go hand-in hand. Therefore, we developed not only the material but chose the right printing technology and calibrated the printing parameters for this new and unique application. To ensure the quality and repeatability of the product we take care of the production of the inserts together with our partner Sculpteo” states Jörg Petri, Business Development Manager at Forward AM. 

In short, this solution combines design, architecture and functionality in a completely new way – a true game-changer for glass façade applications and interior division walls in offices and private homes, malls and museums, airports and places of worship.

Result: Glass façade as a single integrated functional design solution

This solution proves that for architecture and design in the construction industry, AM enables full customization combined with advanced functionalities that optimize the use of natural light and energy efficiency, while providing privacy control, light guidance and innovative sun shading.

Furthermore, the unique, design-specific illumination of building interiors is possible in an easy visually appealing way.

“OKAfree enables the design for a façade and therefore for the whole building more than ever. Beyond that, due to the depth effect of OKAfree, an additional function like privacy or daylighting can be integrated according to individual requests. From now on, it is possible to design façades free with almost no restrictions at all. Hence, façades will be boundless multifaceted and so each façade appears unique. That is why OKAfree holds a great opportunity for designers and architects.”

Dr.-Ing. Johannes Franz, R&D Department, OKALUX Glastechnik GmbH

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Turning Waste into Surfboards

The challenge seemed as big as the Pacific Ocean itself: Produce an outstandingly robust and reliable filament – made 100% of recycled waste – that protects the environment, supports the circular economy, and opens up radical new design possibilities. Read on to find out how we achieved exactly that, together with YUYO and their sustainable surfboards.

Project Breakdown

Industry
Consumer goods

Project
Surfboard

Customer
YUYO

Forward AM materials used
Ultrafuse® rPET

The ocean is their playground

And a playground everybody wants to preserve for future generations. No wonder surfers are highly concerned about ocean ecosystems and want to actively contribute to their protection. But their sport is itself a major obstacle, as the vast majority of surfboards out there are pollutive, non-recyclable, and toxic to ocean life (more information here). It’s clear that the surfer community is facing a critical paradox.

French company YUYO joined forces with Forward AM to overcome this contradiction  – by developing a sustainable surfboard alternative.

Using industrial-scale 3D printing technology and the latest biocomposite materials, YUYO and Forward AM designed a surfboard made completely of recycled materials. Even better, the design freedom provided by Additive Manufacturing now enables YUYO to customize their products to the max and give surfers the bespoke, sustainable boards they’ve been asking for.

Medical waste, surfboards and Additive Manufacturing – how do they all tie in?

In 2018, YUYO founder Romain Paul heard about the high volumes of hospital waste, mainly as plastic packaging completely harmless to human health. Aware of this environmental issue, he researched the steps required to collect, sort, and process this medical waste – and the idea of using it as feedstock was born. The key to putting his brilliant concept into action was to find a material that consisted entirely of recycled medical waste and was ready for processing on large-scale 3D printers. Following extensive investigation, YUYO discovered there was only one recycled filament that ticked all the boxes: Ultrafuse® rPET by Forward AM.

The internal structure of YUYO’s surfboards is 3D printed with Ultrafuse® rPET that’s 100% recycled from waste medical trays used for sterilizing surgical tools. This filament is outstandingly reliable, always delivering the exact same characteristics such as identical viscosity and filament diameter. Quite simply, it prints as reliably as a regular top-grade virgin PET filament.

“Thanks to Ultrafuse® rPET we now have a filament that delivers the printing experience that we demand – every single time.”

Romain Paul, Founder of YUYO

Surf’s up, so we’ll keep it short. Ultrafuse® rPET is the ideal sustainable alternative to PET that also ensures outstanding 3D printing performance and easy handling. To top it off, the rPET core of the surfboard is covered with a layer of biocomposite: The  result? A truly eco-friendly surfboard – the YUYO Natural Surfboard.

The result: Catch a wave with full peace of mind

To bring it all together: Right alongside the environmental benefits, Additive Manufacturing gives YUYO outstanding new design possibilities for their surfboards. Thanks to 3D printing, customization has never been easier.

„We can now produce custom, on-demand surfboards that match the performance of conventional boards in every way – and are harmless to marine ecosystems.”

Romain Paul, Founder of YUYO

Harnessing the huge potential of Additive Manufacturing now enables YUYO to produce on-demand bespoke surfboards responsibly. Thanks to Ultrafuse® rPET, YUYO is reducing medical waste, minimizing the environmental impact of surfboards, and helping preserve ocean ecosystems for the next generation of surfers.

Have we sparked your interest? Find out more about this project here.

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Forward AM for Origin: Ready for Additive Mass Production

At first glance, it seems to be a pretty small part – but in fact it’s tremendously important, as it contributes to bringing Additive Manufacturing closer to industrial scale.

Project Breakdown

Industry
Consumer goods

Project
Camera housing | perfect fit photopolymer material

Why Forward AM?
End-to-end solution from design to production

Forward AM materials used
Ultracur3D® ST 45 B

The result
Production of functional AM part at high volume and low cost

Pushing the envelope: Photopolymers built for volume, priced for scale

Curious to know what we’re talking about? Read on – and find out about our breakthrough project with Origin! In May 2019, Origin, the developer of the leading open platform for additive mass production, revealed Origin One – an SLA/DLP printer specifically created for large-scale production. It features a build volume of 192 x 108 x 350 mm with an open material platform, modular hardware, and specialized software to automate the printing process. Equipped with 4k lithography and a native resolution of 50 μm, the Origin One ensures optimal resolution and a flexible polymer process.

The Origin One uses the company’s Programmable Photopolymerization (P3) technology to turn materials into isotropic parts and products ready for end-use. It makes precise orchestration of light, temperature and other conditions possible, allowing real-time optimization and ensuring best possible results in consistent batches. In short: The Origin One allows scalable production at a reasonable cost – a big step towards the industrialization of AM.

The Origin One: A manufacturing-grade printer that enables additive mass production of end-use parts (Source: Origin)

How does Forward AM come into play?

As is so often the case, the devil is in the details – here it’s in the cameras that are required to bring the mentioned P3 technology to life. The Origin One features several integrated cameras for computer vision and to capture data in infrared light range. Additional sensors measure other environmental conditions during the 3D print process – helping to ensure quality and accuracy. Mounting these cameras to the printer was found to be quite complex.

The integrated cameras of the Origin One, essential for the P3 technology

Challenge: Producing a functional AM part at scale – and at low cost

Matt Miyamoto, Design Engineer at Origin, first designed the camera mounts by CNC machining black ABS plastic. While working on it, he encountered an issue: A compound angle meant that the part could only be machined by a 5 or 3-axis CNC with multiple setups. This made the camera housing parts expensive to machine at both low and high volumes. In fact, too expensive to produce them at all. Once the problem was identified, it was likely that Origin would need to explore the solutions AM could offer. And the solution came in the form of Forward AM’s Ultracur3D® ST 45 B.

Ultracur3D® ST 45 B – Engineering Plastics product line

 Ultracur3D® ST 45 B is a medium-viscous, highly reactive photopolymer for 3D printing applications resulting in tough multipurpose parts. It can be used to produce high performance functional parts by using Stereolithography (SLA), Digital Light Processing (DLP) or Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) machines. When it comes to post-processing, Forward AMs Ultracur3D® ST 45 B enables optimal surface finish, mechanical strength and high throughput.Ultracur3D® ST 45 B can fulfil the requirements of functional applications regarding high accuracy and mechanical strength, where existing 3D printing materials often show limitations. In a nutshell:Ultracur3D® ST 45 B proved to be a perfect fit for the Origin One, supporting the high throughput and thus enabling mass production.

Benefits of Ultracur3D® ST 45 B at a Glance

  • For tough multipurpose parts
  • Can be used with SLA, DLP & LCD machines
  • Optimal surface finish
  • High throughput & mechanical strength
The final 3D printed parts – camera housings made of Ultracur3D® ST 45 B
The build volume packed with freshly printed camera housings made of Ultracur3D® ST 45 B

Coming back to Origin: By packing the parts into the build volume they were able to print 40 camera housings in a single print, taking less than 8 hours. Printing overnight enabled maximum printer utilization, and after repeating the same print the following morning, the order of 100 camera housings was completed in under 24 hours. Post-print, a simple solvent wash followed by a one-minute UV post-cure rendered the parts ready for use. By using Ultracur3D® ST 45 B, Origin was able to produce 100 finished camera mount housing parts – all within 24 hours, at a fraction of traditional manufacturing cost.

Looking at the above method comparison: Across the board, combining Origin’s process with Forward AM’s Ultracur3D® ST 45 B material proves to be the most cost-effective way to produce these parts while achieving optimal results. By merging both competencies – Origin’s P3 technology and Forward AM’s Ultracur3D® ST 45 B – we were able to deliver a compelling solution, enabling the Origin One to break ground for AM industrialization.

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OECHSLER and Forward AM Put the Smiles Back in the Miles

Whether it’s a bicycle or motorbike, the saddle is the paramount comfort factor of every two-wheeler. Bikers know that a comfortable saddle is vital – without it, any tour quickly becomes torture.

Project Breakdown

Industry
Automotive

Project
Motorbike saddle

Why Forward AM?
Perfect-fit material

Forward AM materials used
Ultrasint® TPU01

The result
Motorbike saddle combining several layers of differing cushioning structures in a single saddle pad. Faster manufacturing process thanks to fewer assembly steps, plus clear material saving, equal lower production costs. Added end-customer value thanks to increased comfort.

Leading German AM polymer processing specialist OECHSLER and Forward AM teamed up to develop a new-generation motorbike saddle by harnessing the advantages of Additive Manufacturing. While OECHSLER market and product know-how was essential for the development and programming process of the seat, advanced material from Forward AM is key to enabling the functional benefits: Using industrial-scale 3D printing technology and high-performance Ultrasint® TPU01, the two companies designed a motorbike saddle that delivers the comfort riders demand. The objective was to enhance the in-saddle experience by taking the biomechanical specifications of different customer groups into account, across all segments including sports bikes, tourers, and off-roaders.

Fewer assembly steps, greater comfort

Thanks to the design freedom enabled by Additive Manufacturing, the saddle can be produced in a single piece – reducing assembly time and ultimately cost. Thanks to freely designable lattice structures only possible with Additive Manufacturing, a fully integrated cushioning experience unlocks greatly enhanced comfort.

The material of choice, Ultrasint® TPU01 by Forward AM, is ideal for the production of parts requiring excellent long-term shock absorption, energy return, and flexibility. Parts printed with Ultrasint® TPU 01 deliver strong, flexible and durable performance, combined with excellent surface quality and level of detail. Ultrasint® TPU01 opens unlimited design possibilities: it is extremely easy to print, has a very high process stability, and one of the highest throughputs for flexible materials in the 3D printing market. These unique characteristics make it a perfect fit for serial production with HP Multi Jet Fusion printers. With Ultrasint® TPU01, flexible lattice structures become easily possible.

The saddle consists of several layers of differing cushioning structures, combined in a single pad. The specific mapping of the cushioning surface was the result of extensive digital simulation and real-world testing.

Result: A lighter, more comfortable motorbike saddle

Applying Additive Manufacturing makes the motorbike saddle assembly process much simpler and shorter: No gluing process is needed anymore and the top-cover material does not need to be attached with potentially dangerous metal staples. What’s more, the 3D printed saddle is up to 25 percent lighter than the traditionally manufactured model, meaning a major saving in material. All these clear benefits translate directly into lower manufacturing costs.

„The motorcycle saddle is a core interface between rider and motorcycle. Additive Manufacturing enables us to go beyond the limits of conventional materials and manufacturing processes, and deliver greater comfort and safety.“

Max Lehnert, Program Manager Additive Manufacturing Lattice, OECHSLER.

By joining forces, OECHSLER and Forward AM achieved lightweight design, air permeability, and increased material stability while delivering greatly improved user comfort on long rides!

For more information about OECHSLER and its offerings with additive manufacturing head over here.

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Daimler Power in Safe Hands with Forward AM

Project Breakdown

Industry
Automotive

Project
Engine Mount

Why Forward AM?
Expert Additive Manufacturing materials and design partner, from concept to fully functional prototype

Forward AM materials used
Ultrasint® PA6 MF

The result
Faster and cost-effective development cycle

How Daimler minimized development time and cost for a new engine mount design thanks to Ultrasint® PA6 MF

In today’s electric as well as internal combustion-powered cars, engine mounts are the single most important component in reducing the transmission of vibrations from the powerplant aggregate to the vehicle structure and therefore the passenger compartment. This makes the engine mount a crucial element in maximizing passenger comfort through minimizing NVH – Noise, Vibration, and Harshness.

Automotive internal combustion engine, showing one of the engine mounts (in black) on the vehicle chassis (source: Mercedes Benz AG).

The challenge: Keeping pace with evolution

For almost a decade, engine mounts have mostly been made of injection-molded, fiber-reinforced polymers rather than metal, as this material is lighter and has superior acoustic and vibration damping characteristics. Today, the imperative of ever-shorter automotive component development cycles is putting this class of materials and traditional design processes under heavy pressure. Simulating, prototyping and proving the NVH performance of critical parts needs to be carried out more quickly and cost-effectively than ever before.

The right partner

Daimler AG chose to partner with Forward AM when 3D printing technology for prototyping was still in the very early stages. Forward AM was therefore the natural partner in Daimler’s continual drive to optimize the NVH performance of its automotive engine mounts.

Forward AM has repeatedly proven that with Additive Manufacturing materials and technology, fully functional prototypes can be produced much more rapidly and at far lower cost than with traditional injection molding. The digital modeling and simulation software suite applied by Forward AM’s Virtual Engineers greatly accelerates design optimization loops, maximizes design freedom, and eliminates the very costly requirement for new molds with every design modification. A further compelling advantage is that the customer’s machine-tool acquisition and maintenance expenditure is cut radically.

The goal

Daimler and Forward AM’s joint goal was to radically accelerate the engine mount development process and at the same time achieve major cost savings. The new process needed to fulfil all the requirements for full validation through digital simulation, and the Additive Manufacturing material selected had to display comparable NVH performance to traditional injection molded parts when fitted to the latest Daimler aggregates.

To leverage the advantages of Additive Manufacturing for the new generation of Daimler engine mounts, two core criteria had to be fulfilled:

  1. The AM material and 3D printed prototype needed to meet strictly defined thermal and mechanical performance requirements under test conditions.
  2. The part performance of the 3D printed prototype under simulation had to be identical to that of the equivalent injection-molded component.

When these criteria were applied to the initial design of the new prototype, it quickly became clear that the polyamide-based compounds generally used in this 3D printing application field – PA11 and PA12 – would not fulfil them. A more rigid and thermally stable material was called for.

The solution: Ultrasint® PA6 MF – tougher, faster, smarter

The perfect match for the challenge was Forward AM’s Ultrasint® PA6 MF, a mineral-filled polyamide 6 that outperforms PA11 and PA12 in every key mechanical and thermal stability aspect in this specific application. Furthermore, it ensures rapid and precise 3D printing with today’s Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) technology.

Alongside the advantages of Ultrasint® PA6 MF in fulfilling Daimler’s two core criteria, this advanced material from Forward AM delivers a further convincing argument: While the filling in most powder-based AM materials is provided as a dry blend, in Ultrasint® PA6 MF it is integrated as in-particle filling: This ensures a more homogenous distribution of the filling and therefore optimizes the material’s consistency in processing. Compared to dry-blend AM polymers, in-particle filling enables more constant mechanical properties of the printed part, as it eliminates the risk of incorrect remixing after material separation.

Ultrasint® PA6 MF applied through Powder Bed Fusion can produce test-ready prototypes in under 48 hours – the same development process with injection molding generally takes several weeks. This pairing of AM material and 3D printing technology was selected for the cost and time-efficient development of the engine mount prototype.

The Virtual Engineering team of Forward AM applied BASF’s suite of digital tools to find a geometry which makes the 3D printed part behave like the injection molded pendant. The engineering challenge was to re-design the 3D printed part, such that the acoustic behavior (modal frequencies, NVH) matches the injection molded part without violating the available design space. This was achieved by performing a topology optimization with a specifically formulated objective function. The geometry which was found shows a totally different internal reinforcement structure compared to the injection molded part. The internal design is enabled by the 3D printing process and not feasible with injection molding, due to its demolding and wall thickness restrictions. Although the 3D printed part looks different – regarding the internal load paths, it can be used like the original part as a fully functional prototype in the development stage when no injection molding part is available.

The result: NVH-optimized engine mount prototype

To confirm the NVH, mechanical and thermal properties of the engine mount produced with AM material and technology, Daimler engineers carried out comprehensive tests on the prototype and validated its NVH performance profile through model analyses of the component at differing temperatures, as well as in direct comparison with the original injection-molded part and also a geometrically identical 3D printed part.

Exhaustive testing confirmed the new component prototype fulfilled Daimler’s strict requirements in all NVH-relevant performance aspects: This confirmed the outstanding suitability of Ultrasint® PA6 MF as an Additive Manufacturing material for NVH-optimized engine mount prototypes with their geometry reengineered through digital simulation.

The deviation of modal frequencies of the 3D printed parts in comparison with the injection molded part.

Throughout the entire test, the geometrically optimized engine mount 3D printed with Forward AM’s Ultrasint® PA6 MF showed no mechanically or thermally induced structural alterations whatsoever, providing further confirmation of the tremendous potential of this AM material for the new component prototype.

Additive Manufacturing technology helps to keep Daimler a development step ahead

With the combination of Forward AM’s advanced Ultrasint® PA6 MF and BASF’s suite of digital tools, Daimler engineers successfully leveraged the full potential of Additive Manufacturing for the digital simulation, prototyping, and benchtesting of their NVH optimized component. From this leading global manufacturer’s perspective, the result is a compelling advantage in terms of component prototype development speed and cost-efficiency.

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ProsFit and BASF Forward AM Move Prosthetic Limbs a Big Step Forward

Today amputees requiring prosthetic limbs have to put up with often uncomfortable, poorly fitting sockets. A collaboration between ProsFit and Forward AM now looks set to raise their quality of life.

Project Breakdown

Industry
Medical

Project
Prosthetic socket

Why Forward AM?
Superior in-use performance of TPU material for pioneering 3D applications; seamless integration of design process in ProsFit’s existing production set-up

Forward AM materials used
Ultrasint® TPU01 and Ultrasint® TPU88A

The result
Higher quality of life for prosthetics users; radically improved performance for prosthetic clinics; enables global delivery network expansion for ProsFit

The status quo – long, complex, and uncomfortable

The inspiration behind ProsFit is Christopher Hutchison. In 2009, the company’s Co-Founder and CTO was involved in an accident that required the amputation of both legs. In his quest to regain full mobility, Christopher soon discovered that the fitting of prosthetic limbs still relied on artisanal hand-crafting of the most critical component in the assembly – the socket. “The traditional process of creating and fitting a prosthetic leg is long, complex, and very uncomfortable for the user,” says Christopher.

Producing and fitting the limb required hours of painstaking and cost-intensive manual work by a prosthetics specialist and several visits to the clinic, meaning the whole process could take several weeks. ProsFit identified the need to find an inner-socket material that enabled a much higher level of comfort and quality of life for the wearer, and greatly accelerated the design and production process.

The answer: Fully digital solution by ProsFit, deploying material from Forward AM

ProsFit had an excellent existing relationship with Sculpteo, one of their approved specialist 3D printing technology providers and which has since joined BASF group. Sculpteo had already printed ProsFit Optimal sockets in PA12 and supplied to ProsFit customers around the globe.

The digital solution by ProsFit, PandoFit, is a cloud-based CAD suite that enables prosthetic specialists to use a precise 3D scan of the amputee’s lower limb and digitally design a custom-tailored socket that provides a comfortable and secure fit of the prosthesis.

ProsFit wanted to further improve comfort through the use of new and advanced material solutions. Discussions between ProsFit and Forward AM experts quickly indicated that the Ultrasint® TPU01 and Ultrasint® TPU88A materials by Forward AM are ideal candidates for 3D printing the ProsFit Flex, a flexible inner socket, complementing the existing family of ProsFit sockets.

Ultrasint® TPU delivers outstanding vibration cushioning and maintains mechanical characteristics under repetitive load, as seen in a prosthesis, while showing no performance or visual degradation over time.

“With the PandoFit digital design and configuration system ProsFit was already able to provide a perfect socket fit. By adding a better cushioned, more flexible layer of Ultrasint® TPU we made the ProsFit Flex socket even more comfortable for the wearer”, explains Christian Reinhardt, Business Development Manager at Forward AM.

It was clear that inner sockets made with Ultrasint® TPU would be easy to integrate both in design and production, as the production technology for ProsFit Flex (Ultrasint® TPU materials) and the other ProsFit socket families (PA12) is almost identical. Rounding off this convincing argument, Ultrasint® TPU materials are highly efficient candidates for 3D printing using HP Multi Jet Fusion – the selfsame system that ProsFit was already using to manufacture its ProsFit Optimal sockets with PA12.

ProsFit Optimal has regulatory approval in the European Union and in several Asia Pacific markets, with approval applications ready for submission in new markets including the United States. Ultrasint® TPU01 by Forward AM has already achieved global regulatory approval as a biocompatible material, safe for skin contact. Thanks to the enhanced performance of inner sockets made with Ultrasint® TPU via HP Multi Jet Fusion, ProsFit also anticipates a smooth regulatory approval process and enthusiastic market acceptance of ProsFit Flex around the globe.

Overall, the desired specialized performance of ProsFit Flex was made possible through Ultrasint® TPU materials as outstanding 3D printable materials in terms of performance and ease of production system integration. By digitally integrating the process of modelling, designing, and 3D manufacturing a prosthetic socket, ProsFit has successfully reduced the time it takes to manufacture and deliver a socket from weeks to just days: The final socket can now be made and fitted in only two visits by the wearer.

Boost in clinics’ productivity

Combining the design speed using its integrated digital solution, 3D printing flexibility, and outstanding end-product consistency, ProsFit has delivered a huge boost in prosthetic clinics’ productivity: They can now fit five times the number of patients in the same period and with the same resources. It’s no surprise that ProsFit is being approached by healthcare companies wanting to leverage its combined solution to open new prosthetic clinics. Forward AM’s large portfolio of advanced 3D printing materials and extensive distribution network enables ProsFit’s production of wearer-tailored sockets usig multiple, certified hubs to meet the varying levels of demand in the world’s different regions, and makes it scalable in line with the expansion rates of local 3D printer infrastructures.

In parallel to raising prosthetic patients’ quality of life, ProsFit provides prosthetic clinics with an end-to-end digital solution that massively refines, speeds up and simplifies the individual fitting process of combined outer and inner sockets. With up to a five-fold increase in the efficiency they meet their patients’ needs with, prosthetic clinics could achieve an equivalent acceleration in their own revenue streams as well as quantum jumps in their end-customers’ satisfaction and loyalty.

“We are proud to be able to contribute to ProsFit’s mission of enabling a higher quality of life for prosthetics wearers worldwide”, says François Minec, Managing Director BASF 3D Printing Solutions. “Ultrasint® TPU by Forward AM dovetails perfectly with ProsFit’s inner-socket design requirements as well as with their existing integrated production process.”

ProsFit Flex and Ultrasint® TPU by Forward AM – a leap forward for prosthetic limb users, of real benefit for prosthetic clinics, and a major stride for ProsFit towards fulfilling its vision: A World where innovation provides limb wearers a choice of affordable, reliable and desirable prosthetic products and services.

To find out more about ProsFit head over here.

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In the fast-evolving Additive Manufacturing industry, safety standards and reliable performance are key to facilitating manufacturers’ transition to AM – i.e flame retardancy is a highly relevant material property for industries such as transportation, electrics & electronics, construction and aerospace.

For these industries, guaranteed material flame retardancy is key and an absolute prerequisite for migrating to Additive Manufacturing. Recognized and well-established industry certifications such as the UL Blue Card give these industries that guarantee. Forward AM’s Ultrasint® PA6 FR is the first officially UL certified flame retardant PA6 powder for Laser Sintering.

Read this whitepaper to better understand the requirements of flame retardant applications and the relevance of UL94 Blue Card certification and discover a case study as tangible example of a successful application where flame-retardant PA6 FR delivered the decisive advantage.

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Giving Wings to Aerospace

In the aerospace industry, every single gram counts. As a matter of fact, the #1 way for aerospace companies to save money is by reducing weight.

Project Breakdown

Industry
Aerospace

Project
Airflow pipe

Why Forward AM?
End-to-end solution combined with broad materials spectrum

Forward AM materials used
Ultrasim® | Ultrasint® PA6 FR | Ultrafuse® PPSU

The result
Pressure-loss optimized air duct for the aerospace industry

Solution suitable for industry sectors
Aerospace, Electronics, Public Transportation

Why? It’s simple: The lower the weight, the lower the fuel consumption and emissions. Vice versa: The higher an aircraft’s payload is, the more fuel consumption, emissions, speed and ultimately safety will all suffer. The solution? Additive Manufacturing. 3D printing components enables an immediate weight saving, which translates directly into cost savings.

Ready for Takeoff – with Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing opens up a myriad of new application opportunities, especially for the aerospace and aviation industry: Lightweight construction, major functional enhancements, and yet undreamt-of combinations of specialized materials. In short, additive manufacturing offers a huge competitive edge.

Above all, AM enables architects to offer their clients customized designs and unique pieces. AM provides architects, designers with a breathtakingly powerful tool, letting them visualize and modify a 3D concept model quickly and cost-effectively, saving precious time to dedicate to making their inspiring visions a reality.

The Challenge We Faced

Constructing an aircraft means working out how to control internal airflow. Fresh air is vital for passengers and crew, while precise airflow control is crucial for controlling cabin pressurization and temperature.

Guiding air efficiently around corners and minimizing pressure loss while respecting a predefined design space (see figure below) is already a challenge itself. Perfect geometry is required to ensure ideal functionality – and when air ducts are applied in aircraft design it gets even more complicated, as space constraints and curved cabin walls need to be integrated. Plus, an air duct needs to be heat-resistant and flame-retardant. Of course, we also need to remember that weight is a major limitation factor on aerospace component design.

3D description of the airflow challenge

Virtual to Real – A Lightweight, Better-performing Aerospace Part

At Forward AM we took up the challenge to develop an air duct optimized for the aerospace industry. In fact, we redesigned the entire component’s geometry.  To understand the challenge fully, we first ran an exhaustive Ultrasim® simulation under differentiated operating parameters to replace laborious and costly material testing. We then applied our bespoke Virtual Engineering software to rethink the part from zero. This approach enabled us to identify a radically new design solution based on AM technology and materials. By applying the following process steps we developed a unique optimal alternative to traditional air ducts used in aircraft:

In working out the design we specifically engineered it for printing via both Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) and Laser Sintering (LS). The improved air duct design was then printed using two of our flame-retardant materials: Ultrasint® PA6 FR and Ultrafuse® PPSU– the latter being in current development phases.
Ultrasint® PA6 FR is an advanced engineering polymer powder containing a halogen fee flame-retardant (FR) additive. Combining excellent mechanical and thermal performance with flammability requirements, it’s a perfect choice for aerospace as well as electronics and public transport applications. Ultrasint® PA6 FR successfully passed Aerospace Vertical Flammability (12 and 60 s), Smoke Density and Smoke Toxicity (FST) tests.

Result: Lightweight Aerospace Air Duct with Optimal Functionality

Forward AM delivers a solution that adds real value for aerospace industry customers – by combining the vast potential of Additive Manufacturing, Ultrasim®-based Virtual Engineering, and our highly advanced engineering-grade materials.

The redesigned air duct displays the best-possible surface contour for minimum pressure loss. It can easily be adapted to any other specific construction parameters, directionality or number of nozzles, while achieving very significant space and weight savings.

Building on extensive experience in aerospace component manufacturing, we know that part and process optimization for Additive Manufacturing is crucial for the industrial AM products of the future. At Forward AM we provide our customers with an end-to-end virtual workflow, deep material expertise, and industry-leading AM process know-how.

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With Additive Manufacturing, it can be challenging to produce parts with professional-grade surface finishes, making post-processing an essential step in the 3D printing process.

Achieving a surface quality known from injection molding for high-performance parts printed with Ultrasint TPU01 and TPU88A is now easier than ever before.

Read this whitepaper to learn in detail how to surface treat thermoplastic polymer 3D-printed parts and obtain parts with improved airtightness as well as bacteria protection printed using Laser Sintering, HP Multi Jet Fusion, High Speed Sintering, or Fused Deposition Modelling technology. Find out all about the extensive testing that was done to characterize the effect of novel post-processing technology BLAST by AMT on material properties of parts printed with BASF Ultrasint® TPU01 and 88A material.

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3D-printed Exoskeleton with Forward AM Filaments

Every year approximately 130,000 more people suffer from paraplegia, most often caused by an accident. This imposes tremendous restrictions and a massive deterioration in their quality of life.

Project Breakdown

Industry
Medical

Project
Exoskeleton

Partner
Project MARCH

Forward AM materials used
Ultrafuse® PLA PRO01 | Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+

For the overwhelming majority of spinal cord injury sufferers, this also means being wheelchair-bound for the rest of their lives. To alleviate their situation and re-establish sufferers’ self-reliance, a non-profit student team in the Netherlands is working continually to develop a radically innovative new solution. At the renowned Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands, 25 students from various disciplines including Industrial Design, Mechanical Engineering, and Clinical Technology have formed a special application research taskforce. What do these different specialists have in common? They all volunteer for a full year to develop a user-friendly, highly versatile human exoskeleton.

3D Printing a Filament-based Exoskeleton

In their search for new approaches to support paraplegics, Project MARCH develops one complete exoskeleton every year, trying new designs and leading-edge manufacturing methods each time.

This time, MARCH team planned to explore the possibilities of Additive Manufacturing for the potential value it could contribute to their project. So they reached out to Forward AM, and quickly received an enthusiastic response from the leading specialist for advanced Additive Manufacturing technologies and materials: Forward AM would support the team with materials and expertise to help design and build their exoskeleton.

The MARCH team started from scratch, producing a number of promising ideas for the right design that would enable a fully functional exoskeleton. Thanks to the rapid speed of 3D printing, they were able to quickly print and test their 3D models in real size, making many design iterations possible in just a few working days. The team chose Ultrafuse® PLA PRO01 and Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+ filaments for their low cost, outstanding ease of use, and very rapid printability. These advanced filaments by Forward AM were the perfect fit for the intensive MARCH towards the ideal prototype.

During the design iteration process for all the different parts of the exoskeleton, it was essential for the team to keep one thing in mind: All components MUST fit and work together perfectly to ensure the full functionality of the final exoskeleton. To test this, the MARCH team 3D printed all the different components and assembled them to check full functionality. Thanks to the development speed enabled by Forward AM technologies and materials, the team produced a perfectly functional exoskeleton prototype well ahead of schedule. It was then ready for the journey to the specialist manufacturers of metal parts for the joints and bones.

Prototypes of the input device allowing the user to control the ‘bones’ of the exoskeleton.

The Result Stands – a Fully Functional Filament-based Exoskeleton

From the outset the Project MARCH team had planned to print several exoskeleton components themselves, using their own 3D printer. For the students this was easier, more cost-efficient and much faster than having them printed externally. Further, if the final part needed improvement, it would be easy to modify the design and reprint immediately – rapid prototyping is one of the huge advantages of 3D printing. After testing and printing with Ultrafuse® PLA PRO01 and Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+ filaments, the MARCH team was delighted to confirm that the components’ performance parameters matched all their specifications. Two examples are the sole and sole covers of the exoskeleton foot here below:

Right Filament for the Right Component

For the final covers of the exoskeleton, the team needed a material strong enough to protect the electronics as well as the exoskeleton ‘bones‘. The final design stipulates that the cover consists of two parts attached to each other by robust snap connectors –therefore, the material used for printing has to be able to fulfil this special requirement as well. The MARCH team tested different types of filament for the cover: Normal PLA, PET, PLA PRO1 and ABS Fusion+, all provided by Forward AM (more information here).

Through exhaustive testing the team proved the mechanical properties of the different filaments under operating conditions, and was quickly able to decide on the ideal filament for each respective component.

For the exoskeleton snap connectors they chose Ultrafuse® PLA PRO1. This filament is a high print-speed engineering thermoplastic that prints as easily as PLA, and at speeds previously considered impossible. What’s more, Ultrafuse® PLA PRO1 retains better mechanical properties that even exceed those of ABS-printed objects. For the MARCH team this was the perfect filament for printing these critical exoskeleton components.

Another component required a different 3D material: The exoskeleton foot sole is required to bend slightly during walking. Because of this increased need for flexibility, the Project MARCH team chose Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+ over a standard PLA filament or Ultrafuse® PLA PRO1: It proved easier to print and was less prone to warping.

Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+ is an easy-to-print engineering material, enabling a much more efficient printing process. Thanks to the unique properties of Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+, the final printed prototype demonstrates great dimensional stability.

Members of the Project MARCH team with 3D printed exoskeleton components.

With the support of Forward AM, the Project MARCH team was able to test their designs rapidly and intensively – and for the final successful prototype they were also able to print all exoskeleton components on their own.

Find out more about MARCH on the Project MARCH website.

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Tooling fixtures

Cost-effective Metal AM with L3HARRIS

Electronic communication systems, avionics, space intelligence, cyber security and weather monitoring solutions – American company L3HARRIS Technologies is a proven leader in numerous business segments, across air, land, and cyber domains. Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, with 50,000 employees and customers in 130 countries, L3HARRIS Technologies is a true global player.

Project Breakdown

Industry
Industrial applications

Project
Tooling fixtures

Why Forward AM?
Perfect-fit metal filament for serial production

Forward AM materials used
Ultrafuse® 316L

The result
High-quality metal parts

Solution suitable for industry sectors
Jigs & fixtures, tooling, jewelry

Fixturing Components – Keeping It All Together

What do all these industries have in common? And how does Additive Manufacturing (AM) come into play? It’s in the details. Across all its business segments, L3HARRIS requires fixturing components, e.g. for clamping or spacing parts during assembly – and 3D printing is just perfect for manufacturing these. As an industry innovator, L3HARRIS Fuzing & Ordnance Systems was an early adopter of metal AM. The company initially 3D printed metal parts at service bureaus on a regular basis, but quickly decided to increase their AM metal capabilities, so L3HARRIS started looking into ways to do exactly that at maximum cost-effectiveness. They wanted a technology that could satisfy manufacturing tooling applications but would also be an excellent fit for product development.

L3HARRIS Fuzing & Ordnance Systems decided to purchase a SAAM HT (Small Area Additive Manufacturing High Temperature) machine from Cincinnati Incorporated. However, L3HARRIS was fully aware that the printer is only one half of the story: To succeed, a proven, reliable and easy-to-handle material is crucial – ideally one that’s already well established in the MIM (metal injection molding) industry for Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). L3HARRIS, therefore, opted to test Ultrafuse® 316L, an advanced metal filament from Forward AM.

Metal tooling fixture being printed with the Cincinnati SAAM HT machine using Forward AM’s filament Ultrafuse® 316L.

The Material used

Forward AM’s Ultrafuse® 316L is a metal polymer composite filament for the production of metal components in 316L stainless steel. It enables manufacturing by using conventional Fused Filament Fabrication machines, followed by an industry standardized catalytic debinding and sintering process. The filament has a non-slip surface, allowing it to be applied in most Bowden or direct-drive extruders. Thanks to its high flexibility, it can be fed through complex idler pulleys and multiple filament transportation systems in printers – with no extra drying required.

Available at an attractive Total Cost of Ownership, Ultrafuse® 316L enables easy and affordable metal 3D printing. It’s a perfect fit for tooling applications and suitable from serial production to functional prototypes. In short, Ultrafuse® 316L is the perfect solution to partner with the Cincinnati SAAM HT printer.

Spools of Forward AM’s metal filament Ultrafuse® 316L.

When comparing AM to conventional machining costs, the numbers speak for themselves. By choosing 3D printing in combination with Forward AM’s filament Ultrafuse® 316L, L3HARRIS was able to reduce their cost by more than 35%.

Cost Savings for Tooling Fixture

Method
Material
# of Parts
Total Cost
Additive Materials
Ultrafuse® 316L
50
$3,806.70
Traditional Machining
316 SS
50
$6,125.00

Note: 50 tooling parts were printed and finish-machined. The cost savings of Additive Metals over 100% machining were $2,318.

*Total Cost includes all costs from material, manufacturing, debinding & sintering, and post-machining.

Result: High quality metal 3D printing saves time and cost

The time invested in expanding its AM capabilities paid off handsomely for L3HARRIS Fuzing & Ordnance Systems.

By using Forward AM’s metal filament, L3HARRIS was immediately able to produce safe, assembly-ready and affordable stainless steel fixturing components, tooling for clamping parts, and spacing parts. In addition, the company was also able to use it to speed up product development for housings and other small components. As hard evidence of the quality of the 3D printed components, prototypes using Ultrafuse® 316L metal filament meeting rigorous specifications were used in U.S. Defense Department test programs.

„Forward AM’s solution enabled us to achieve high quality metal part printing with an affordable desktop 3D printer. The great advantage is that we can also use other Forward AM polymer materials in the same machine.“

Mark Holthaus, Lead Designer/Additive Lead, L3HARRIS, Fuzing & Ordnance Systems.

With a now proven concept, L3HARRIS introduced Forward AM’s Ultrafuse® 316L into its development cycle. Pairing this advanced material with a standard desktop 3D printer has proven to be a highly cost-effective, efficient, and faster alternative to traditional machining processes. The ease of use and sheer speed provides for more design freedom during the investigation and development phase, while greatly enhancing the quality and reliability of the components produced.

Spools of Forward AM’s metal filament Ultrafuse® 316L.

For this mission, Forward AM also partnered with DSH Technologies, an independent specialist for reliable debinding and sintering. This allowed L3Harris to go directly into metal printing its components. The relationship proved to be the perfect solution for L3HARRIS Fuzing & Ordnance Systems, enabling them to focus on printing top quality green parts while not having to worry about other steps in the metal FFF process.

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How Forward AM Makes Sports Safer

In baseball, hockey, football and all other sports, head trauma through collision is an omnipresent risk for all athletes. And it doesn’t stop with sporting activities: All of us who ride motorcycles, go skydiving or skiing also face this risk.

Project Breakdown

Industry
Consumer goods

Project
Protective helmets

Applications
Road Protection | Sport Protection | Work Protection

Forward AM materials used
Ultrasim® | Ultrasint® TPU01 | Ultrasint® TPU 88A | Ultracur3D®

Yes to sports – no to head trauma

Improving the performance of protective gear is therefore crucial in preventing injuries and increasing safety. Forward AM is strongly committed to safety and improving the performance of helmets and other protective gear.

Next level of head protection – Forward AM takes the lead

After seven decades with minimal design development, Additive Manufacturing – “AM” – now creates the opportunity not only to distribute differentiated impact strategies intelligently throughout the helmet but also for individualized helmet fit. The result is hugely improved safety.

Figure 1: Excellent shock absorption by a lattice structure printed with TPU powders from Forward AM

Perfect synergy of material, technology and design

Forward AM’s advanced engineering and design expertise makes it possible to identify the optimum combination of materials, technology and processes in the most cost and time efficient way. Our Ultrasint® TPU high performance range of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) powders now enable the industrial-scale 3D printing of flexible parts with class-leading shock absorption. This TPU range is ideally suited to manufacturing complex lattice structures: Its high processing stability and accuracy make extremely detailed designs possible. These benefits are mainly thanks to the outstanding mechanical properties of TPU powders.

Ultrasim® by Forward AM – accelerating application development with Virtual Engineering

Forward AM ́s unique Virtual Engineering design service for 3D printed components is based on Ultrasim®. This Finite Element Modelling capability was originally developed in our Engineering Plastics division over the last 25 years to optimize our materials’ performance in traditional injection molding. Modelling elastomers is extremely challenging because of the complex viscoelastic behavior that TPUs exhibit, as well as the Mullins effect.

  • Virtual Engineering design service
  • Rigorous in-house testing and analytics
  • Engineering-grade AM materials
  • Expertise in the latest finishing solutions to complement our AM materials.
Figure 2: Major challenges in elastomer simulation.
Figure 3: Optimized AM structure designed with Ultrasim®

Figure 3 demonstrates we have succeeded in achieving accurate material models for our TPU through testing confirmation. This enables the design adaptation of printed structures through precise simulation to achieve a specific force deflection response – in the case of helmets, optimized impact absorption. By combining this Virtual Engineering capability with rigorous confirmation testing to create intelligent designs, we can accelerate application development rather than rely on time-intensive “print, test, repeat” which in fact may never achieve the desired mechanical performance.

Forward AM has harnessed this approach to develop highly innovative structures that optimally balance outstanding impact performance with weight management, a further key performance criterion.

We can apply this not only to helmets but to other applications such as footwear, where the desired mechanical response instead requires maximum rebound. Depending on the specific characteristics of individual applications, the variety of potential structures is enormous: Lattice designs with optimized configuration and strut size, solid structures, or even other innovative geometric configurations are all possible. The key is that all these structures are developed most efficiently and effectively to fulfil their performance goal with the aid of Virtual Engineering.

Figure 4: Finite Element Model for mathematical optimization | Figure 5: The Tetrahedral Lattice structure as an example of many possible designs

Ultracur3D® flexible coatings create real eyecatchers

Forward AM has developed industry-leading finishing strategies for parts 3D printed with our TPU powders. Through post-processing such as dry-ice blasting, chemical etching, or dyeing, an already high quality surface can be modified to deliver the desired effect. For instance, Ultracur3D® flexible coatings enable an aesthetically enamel-like surface that not only ensures an attractively colored part but also provides functionalities such as moisture impermeability plus highly effective dirt and oil sloughing.

The result: A major advance in helmet safety through optimized AM design and smart material choice

At Forward AM we provide our customers with end-to-end solutions to enable them to shape the AM industrial revolution. Our market leading service spectrum comprises:

  • Virtual Engineering design service
  • Rigorous in-house testing and analytics
  • Engineering-grade AM materials
  • Expertise in the latest finishing solutions to complement our AM materials.
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Printing the Power to Perform – with AM

Staying Ahead of the Curve is Decisive: Motorsports pros take this statement literally. To gain that crucial competitive edge, pro racers constantly strive to optimize their bikes’ parts to shave a hundredth of a second off lap times.

Project Breakdown

Industry
Automotive

Project
Dashboard Spacer | Junction Box Housing

Why Forward AM?
End-to-end solution from design to production

Forward AM materials used
Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+

The result
Shorter production and development cycles plus increased design flexibility

Pushing the Boundaries of AM in Motorsports with Ten Kate Racing

Searching for a way to produce superbike parts faster and more flexibly, Dutch superbike team Ten Kate Racing chose to partner with Forward AM. The goal was to find a material which would meet the extreme demands of top-flight motorcycle racing whilst being super-simple to use on a desktop 3D printer.

Until recently, Ten Kate had used traditional milling to manufacture their parts – a very time-consuming and cost-intensive machining process. A constant feature in the Superbike World Championship since 1995, the racing team faces challenges such as rapid and brutal changes in temperature, mechanical loads and heavy vibrations. This means racing parts have to be redesigned and adjusted very frequently, then produced very quickly. Using Additive Manufacturing enables the Ten Kate team to manufacture reliable parts that excel under the toughest racetrack conditions.

„Outstanding material performance is vital for us. 3D printed parts on our race bikes have to be absolutely reliable.”

Bastiaan Huisjes, Development Manager, R&D at Ten Kate Racing

Easy to Use, Hard to Beat – Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+

The perfect match for the challenge was Forward AM’s Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+. This new advanced filament is outstandingly easy to use, enabling a highly efficient printing process that gives the 3D operator maximum time to exploit the full production potential without the need for continual readjustment.
Together with Ten Kate Racing, Forward AM started by 3D printing the bikes’ dashboard spacer and junction box housing. Previously, designing and milling these parts took at least three weeks: By going additive with Forward AM, Ten Kate Racing successfully shortened the lead time to just seven days. “With Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+ we’re 3D printing more and more racing components – even complex shapes like retainer brackets”, Bastian confirms.

Benefits of Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+ at a Glance

  • Easy to print
  • Direct printing on heated glass or print bed surfaces
  • High heat resistance
  • Adheres to water-soluble support

Result: High Speed in the Workshop – Top Speed on the Track

Dashboard spacer and junction box housing, printed in contrasting colors for clear distinction

By harnessing the phenomenal potential of Additive Manufacturing, Ten Kate Racing was able to speed up the development and production cycle of their bike parts, giving the team an undeniable advantage on race day. Ultrafuse® ABS Fusion+ gives Ten Kate the component printing simplicity, reliability, and design flexibility to keep the team a development step ahead of the competition.

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