Page 39 - MetalForming May 2016
P. 39

                        Table 2: Manufacturing costs and cycle times for the three die sets—does not include costs for engineering, design, launch and markup
  Die set
 B-pillar panel
time (hr.) Cost
 Outer door skin
time (hr.) Cost
 Floor pan
time (hr.) Cost
Material Additive process Finish machining Heat treatment Polishing
—— 83 17 26 460
$6226 $1666 $1731 $5102
—— $28,108 679 $13,681 143 $14,307 26 $10,339 744 $33,462
—— $89,857 2240 $45,159 473 $47,259 26 $29,950 2051 $92,312
Total for additive manufacture of die set
586 $35,424
1591 $99,896
4790 $304,538
(traditional mfg.)
—— $135,000
—— $125,000
—— $187,500
Cost savings
—— 73.8%
—— 20.1%
—— –62.4%
Cost Reduction via 3D Printing
Traditionally, stamping or drawing dies for high-volume production are expensive. Machined from hard material such as tool steel, the dies undergo heattreatment for surface hard- ening, and polishing to achieve a high-quality surface finish. Adopting less-durable and softer tooling and reducing automation in the pro- cessing line represent some of the options avail- able to reduce the required capital investment and overall production costs. But, these options can inhibit the ability to achieve the desired dimensional accuracy and surface finish.
As Ricardo and UTRC collaborated to explore
the economic feasibility of innovative produc-
tion techniques, they took a look at the use of
additive manufacturing (AM) to fabricate
stamping dies. Among the AM techniques con-
sidered were laser and electron-beam powder-
bed processes, which tend to provide the best
geometric accuracy; and lower-cost welding processes that can more-rapidly deposit material, but do so with limited geo- metric accuracy. Researchers ultimately decided that wire-arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) offered the ideal solution for developing stamping dies that do not require fine features.
WAAM builds components layer by layer by depositing
molten metal delivered by weld wire. The process uses six-axis robots in conjunction with a specialized cold-metal-transfer (CMT) welding system to produce a fully dense deposit. The process, which provides well-controlled heating and rapid cooling, can lead to hard deposits with limited warping of the final parts in the absence of extensive post treatment.
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