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Avi Reichental is CEO of Techniplas, a supplier to companies such as BMW, Daimler, Ford, and Fiat. The company has developed a solution using 3D printing and AI to make parts up to 47 percent lighter. Using AI technology, Techniplas is able to automatically calculate how to minimize the amount of material used to create parts that are just as strong as traditionally produced and heavier parts.
With 3D printing, a part can be made faster and at lower to cost to be any shape instead of making elements that would need to be connected afterwards. Techniplas Prime, the world’s first and only one-stop shop for automotive e-manufacturing platform, makes the process even easier as manufacturers can simply send their 3D printed models to have parts 3D printed on spec and delivered.
Reichtental was interviewed by Senior Editor Bill Koenig via email.
Let me start by saying that Techniplas is a leading global manufacturer of automotive and industrial products with factories around the world and over a century of traditional manufacturing expertise. Over the past couple of years, the company has begun an extensive digital transformation starting with implementation of industry 4.0 capabilities in operations and implementation of digital manufacturing and generative design capabilities primarily for the purpose of greater manufacturing flexibility and lightweighting capabilities. The company also has a unique cloud manufacturing platform called Techniplas Prime and it already uses this ecosystem to add capacity regionally around the world in order to scale and localize global delivery.
In our case AI helps us do a few things at the design phase primarily using algorithmic topology. Working with our open innovation partners in generative design and additive manufacturing, we believe there is only one correct answer for each design optimization problem, unlike other suppliers that could offer you several dozen solutions, with the engineer choosing the final one. We consider that if you set the design problem correctly, there is only one accurate answer and AI helps in determining that. Secondly, the only way to compress design time and cost and help our customers get to market faster is through a design that is actually manufacturable, not one that requires processing or finishing by a designer or engineer. So, we ensure that we generate fully watertight and 3D printable files that are ready to go.
We are now developing additional capabilities to optimally orient and support parts in certain print engines as well. In all these areas, AI is helping to automate and optimize the outcome. We end up with a single design that is readily manufacturable and available to 3D print, injection mold or investment cast.
The unique aspect about Techniplas is that its optimization and lightweighting, powered by our open innovation partner ParaMatters is completely autonomous and AI enabled. It runs completely automatically and defines desired lightweighting within constraints you set. It runs in the cloud and for a typical size problem you will get an answer that is ready to be 3D printed or investment casted in about 15-20 mins without any human intervention. Once you get the desired solution, you can decide if you want to 3D print or if you want to bring it back into your own CAD in a parametric environment and continue your design.