Design-to-manufacturing innovations at TCT

AMAugust19Feature - tct1
AMAugust19Feature - tct1

TCT, the UK’s leading tradeshow dedicated to additive manufacturing, 3D printing and advanced manufacturing opens its doors this September. Aerospace Manufacturing reports on the design-to-manufacturing innovations on show.


The TCT Group’s flagship event, TCT Show, returns for its 24th year on September 24-26 to deliver the cutting-edge advances in design-to-manufacturing innovation.

Taking place across Halls 3 and 3A of the NEC Birmingham, the free-to-attend TCT Show and user-led TCT Summit will bring together dozens of inspirational speakers, some 250 exhibiting companies and more than 10,000 visitors.

For the UK’s aerospace sector, TCT is the best place to see how the latest developments in additive manufacturing (AM) are impacting the industry from streamlining maintenance, repair and overhaul operations, to manufacturing critical end-use components.

Designs on technology

One of the biggest hurdles in AM is knowing how to design for the technology. Do you want to save weight? Consolidate components? Whether that means getting to grips with topology optimisation or generative design, the TCT Show floor has got it covered.

Making its show debut, nTopology (stand E53) has a new approach to product development that bridges the gap between machines and software needed to optimise designs and drive production.

Need help identifying the best application for AM? 3YOURMIND (B60) will be exhibiting its workflow software solutions and AM Part Identifier tool, which analyses technical and economic data to help users decide which parts are a good fit for additive processes.

Women in 3D Printing and Cyant will be diving into this further on the TCT Tech Stage with the third in a series of 3DTalk @ TCT Show panel sessions featuring speakers from Link3D, 3YOURMIND and Materialise.

Once you’ve got your design, the next step is to simulate. ANSYS (E76), an engineering simulation company specialising in powder-bed processes for sectors requiring intense qualification, will be showing how its latest software updates are condensing the AM workflow and enabling new capabilities.

Taking this a step further, Siemens (D86) will be demonstrating how digital twin technology is enabling manufacturers to simulate not only their products but entire production lines. A project at the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre, called DRAMA is leading the way with digital twin technology by building facilities and tools to help the UK aerospace supply chain companies gain competitive advantage in the adoption of AM. Dr Katy Milne, chief engineer at DRAMA will be discussing more details at the TCT Summit.

Material matters

The Additive Manufacturing UK Strategy report pinpointed materials as a major bottleneck for AM innovation. To that end, a number of industry collaborations between materials companies and OEMs have emerged in a bid to answer the call for greater materials development.

One of those players is Ultimaker (C90), which has formed alliances with leading manufacturers such as DSM, BASF, and DuPont Transportation & Advanced Polymers to allow professionals to make use of high-quality materials, including industrial-grade composites and plastics. Another is Materialise, which has expanded its 3D printing services portfolio with HP’s new certified thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU 90A), ULTRASINT, developed by BASF.

Over in metals, OxMet (F62) will be introducing a series of entirely new alloys developed using large-scale computational calculations to search compositional ranges and find optimal solutions.

Means to manufacture

Whether you need to print moulds for casting, complex end-use metal components, or jigs and fixtures at your desktop, the TCT Show floor will provide a well of additive inspiration and an opportunity to see the latest hardware up-close.

One of the biggest hurdles in AM is knowing how to design for the technology

On the TCT Introducing Stage, MakerBot (E100) will present how it is bridging the gap between desktop and industrial with the introduction of ‘Performance 3D Printing’ alongside a live demo of the its new METHOD X machine designed for ‘true ABS’ printing.

The show will also provide the UK AM industry with the first opportunity to see Stratasys’ (C50) new F120 3D printer, a large-scale desktop machine aimed at designers, engineers and educators. Another focal point of Stratasys’ stand will be a full-size business class aircraft cabin which will demonstrate a number of interior part applications produced at reduced costs with lightweight and durable designs.

Setting sights even higher on the TCT Main Stage, Oleg Dmitriev, head of technical operations at Skyrora will be discussing how the UK is aiming to take to space with 3D printed rocket engines.

Back on the show floor, EOS (C76) will be exhibiting a range of industrial AM solutions including the EOS M 300-4 metal system, polymer EOS P 500 system, and LaserProFusion technology, a revolutionary development in polymer AM which uses one million diode lasers to build parts up to 10 times faster.

For those looking to explore more metals, major players such as SLM Solutions (E72) which manufactures quad-laser systems leveraged by Rolls-Royce for the manufacture of end-use aerospace components, or Renishaw (D100) which recently saw Frazer Nash using its machines to create a small batch of fastener parts for use during aircraft assembly, will be on-hand to deliver expert knowledge.

Top tip: If the many acronyms, tech specs and build sizes get a little overwhelming, be sure to take in Todd Grimm’s talk on ‘Separating the Wheat from the Chaff when Buying AM Equipment’ which aims to arm visitors with confidence – and a healthy dose of scepticism – in decision-making.

A flying finishing

For your post-printing questions, the industry’s ‘dirty little secret’ will be laid bare along with a number of intelligent solutions designed to tackle one of AM’s biggest pain points.

Looking to 3D print customer-facing parts with a perfect finish? Quill Vogue (E90) is set to launch a new affordable colouring system for polymer parts. The system uses the company’s established hot soak box with the addition of a dye to quickly produce colour parts.

For metals, German post-processing solutions company, Solukon (B64) will demonstrate its automatic units for laser-melted parts, leveraged by industry leaders such as Siemens to provide a robust, process-driven method of handling powder removal for convenient and economical operations.

The final step is to make sure your parts are up to spec. Manchester Metrology (B71) will have a number of measurement solutions on display including the HandyScan 700 handheld scanner, Cybergage 360 non-contact scanner, and FARO GAGE measuring arm for smaller parts.

In addition to a host of 3D printing technologies from the likes of HP and Mimaki, UK 3D solutions provider Europac3D (A90) will have one of the largest stands on the show floor featuring end-to-end solutions including Kreon 3D measuring arms and high-resolution scanners from Artec.

Putting all of these technologies into perspective, closing out this year’s event, the TCT Summit Main Stage will host an expert panel session on Additive Manufacturing and the Industrial Strategy. Hosted by TCT head of content, Daniel O’Connor, the panel will feature leading voices from across the industry to explore the ways and means for the UK to remain an AM stronghold.


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