This paper was produced for the 2019 NAFEMS World Congress in Quebec Canada
Additive Manufacturing of polymers is transitioning from rapid prototyping to a true industrial production technique. While it brings valuable opportunities to industry, it also comes with a series of challenges for engineers: the reliability of mechanical properties of the final part still has some uncertainty and is not fully supported by standard engineering tools. To support this transition, current engineering workflows, which are routinely applied to traditional manufacturing processes, need to be reviewed and adapted to facilitate the introduction of new technologies. A holistic simulation approach for additive manufacturing of plastics and composites is proposed: it allows the use of multiscale material modelling techniques, essential to handle several scales involved in Additive Manufacturing, to predict important effects of a printing process such as warpage, shrinkage and residual stresses. Resulting outputs can be easily used to simulate the effective mechanical performance of an as-printed part as a function of a material and other important printing process parameters such as toolpath. Both in physical and virtual cases, in order to optimize the whole process, it is necessary to track material behaviour and the process parameters to fully characterize as-manufactured parts. In recent years, the introduction and increasing emphasis to process management have enabled the industry to shift towards interactive applications, batch automation, new web-based technologies, and the ability to monitor a full data lifecycle of high-quality corporate data. Such a system sets forth several key benefits in the engineering community. Firstly, it allows the dissemination of large quantities of physically-tested and virtually-simulated material data. Secondly, the automation of data capture and analysis of material test data becomes possible throughout a material lifecycle. Thirdly, the definition of workflows and approvals can apply best practices to efficiently manage the flow of business information. Lastly, integrations with commercial or proprietary Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), Computer Aided Design (CAD), and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tools with scalable web-protocols enable intellectual property protection through process control and traceability.