Designs, Vol. 7, Pages 68: A Novel Feature-Based Manufacturability Assessment System for Evaluating Selective Laser Melting and Subtractive Manufacturing Injection Moulding Tool Inserts

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Designs, Vol. 7, Pages 68: A Novel Feature-Based Manufacturability Assessment System for Evaluating Selective Laser Melting and Subtractive Manufacturing Injection Moulding Tool Inserts

Designs doi: 10.3390/designs7030068

Authors:
Mennatallah F. El Kashouty
Allan E. W. Rennie
Mootaz Ghazy

Challenges caused by design complexities during the design stages of a product must be coordinated and overcome by the selection of a suitable manufacturing approach. Additive manufacturing (AM) is capable of fabricating complex shapes, yet there are limiting aspects to surface integrity, dimensional accuracy, and, in some instances, design restrictions. Therefore, the goal is essentially to establish the complex areas of a tool during the design stage to achieve the desired quality levels for the corresponding injection moulding tool insert. When adopting a manufacturing approach, it is essential to acknowledge limitations and restrictions. This paper presents the development of a feature-based manufacturability assessment system (FBMAS) to demonstrate the feasibility of integrating selective laser melting (SLM), a metal-based AM technology, with subtractive manufacturing for any given part. The areas on the tool inserts that hold the most geometrical complexities to manufacture are focused on the FBMAS and the design features that are critical for the FBMAS are defined. Furthermore, the structural approach used for developing the FBMAS graphical user interface is defined while explaining how it can be operated effectively and in a user-friendly approach. The systematic approach established is successful in capturing the benefits of SLM and subtractive methods of manufacturing, whilst defining design limitations of each manufacturing method. Finally, the FBMAS developed was validated and verified against the criteria set by experts in the field, and the system’s logic was proven to be accurate when tested. The decision recommendations proved to correlate with the determined recommendations of the field experts in evaluating the feature manufacturability of the tool inserts.

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