A Demonstration of Design Optimisation and Hybrid Additive Manufacturing of a Nozzle for the Food Industry

“A successful study marrying the simulation for flow optimisation and additive capabilities to produce a nozzle that fits Unilever’s requirements” – Georgios Tetradis-Meris, Unilever

The project has been an excellent way for Matsuura to work with some of the leading companies within the food industry and UK innovation. We have collaboratively proven that Hybrid AM technology opens the doors for designers, enabling them the freedom to design that hasn’t previously been possible”Joseph Bellis, Matsuura

The Challenge

Currently, there is a lack of demonstrations in utilising hybrid powder-bed AM technology in the food industry for nozzle designs. Therefore, to open new horizons for innovative nozzle designs, a methodology from design to manufacture was needed to prove the viability to the industry through using the advantage of simultaneously building and machining complex 3D structures containing internal features and channels. This, in turn, would lead to new products reaching the marketplace and consumers through increased design flexibility and manufacturing integrity.

The Solution and Outcome

  • The MTC performed CFD optimisations to identify an appropriate geometry for Unilever’s nozzle that meets flow criteria for multi-colour and multi-flavour ice cream deposition.
  • The MTC developed and validated a new distortion prediction model of the hybrid AM process that was used to mitigate distortion and manufacture the nozzle within specified tolerances.
  • The AMRC conducted micro-machining trials to identify optimum process parameters by balancing high material removal rate with achieving an average surface roughness of less than 1µm.
  • Matsuura and The MTC manufactured the optimised nozzle geometry on the Matsuura Lumex Avance-25 and demonstrated that the hybrid AM technology is capable of manufacturing complex nozzle designs with an appropriate surface finish to prevent bacteria growth.
  • A design to manufacture methodology has been captured and publicised by the partners.

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