CAD used to improve production of metal, plastic parts
A professor from Georgia Tech's School of Mechanical Engineering has developed a method of producing metal parts directly from computer-aided design (CAD) programs that may lead to significant changes in how industries design and cast complex metal parts, the school reports.
Better metal manufacturing
According to the news source, Suman Das' innovation may significantly reduce prototype development times while making the mass production manufacturing process more efficient and less expensive.
"We have developed a proof-of-concept system which is already turning out complex metal parts, and which fundamentally transforms the way that very high-value castings are made," Das said. "We're confident that our approach can lower costs by at least 25 percent and reduce the number of unusable waste parts by more than 90 percent, while eliminating 100 percent of the tooling."
Conventionally, the process of creating a ceramic mold - a necessity for the production of metal parts on a mass scale - involved a sequence of six major steps, each of which required expensive machinery and tools. With Das' method, however, the ceramic molds can be created directly from CAD designs, allowing manufacturers to create metal parts faster and with less expense.
Advances in plastics
Another innovation in mold and part design was recently reported by European Plastic News. According to the source, Dassault Systemes, a leading developer of 3D design software, has announced the launch of SolidWorks Plastics 2012, the latest development in its line of SolidWorks CAD software offerings. This program will allow manufacturers to detect defects in the early stages of mold and part design, allowing them to improve their products faster and at lower cost than with conventional methods.