Despite still being in its infancy, 3D printing is overcoming the flaws of the traditional manufacturing process. Earlier, many companies were concerned about technical complexity, equipment costs, personnel training and no guarantee of return on investments. With every new breakthrough those doubts are slowly subsiding. Today, this powerful technology is helping with prototyping, i.e. the exploratory function for fit, form and function, even performance. It can also be used for the design and fabrication of non-critical parts. In the aerospace market, this translates to aircraft cabin overhead bins, separations, galleys and inserts. Aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, chemical and other heavy industry companies are using additive manufacturing to address one-off parts, complex structures, and obsolete items. Designers and artists are allowing 3D printing to fuel their imagination and develop products too exotic to imagine or custom fits that would have been outrageously expensive a decade ago.
This is where AlphaSTAR steps in to help customers by delivering state-of-the-art solutions which help them solve complex problems. Addressing the pain points of its clients, the company has developed commercial advanced physics-based simulation solutions that address material characterization, virtual testing, virtual manufacturing (3D printing, filament winding, automated tape layup, etc.), structural analysis, fatigue, fracture, impact, durability and damage tolerance, residual life, structural health monitoring, certification by analysis and qualification.
Providing Advanced 3D Solutions
The tools provided by AlphaSTAR are accompanied by deep physics modules that address material phase change, diffusional creep, material degradation, big data processing, terrain mapping, visualization, real-time analysis and multi-criteria decision making, and many other topics. AlphaSTAR offers solutions that not only reduce the cost, but also tackle the real-time issues of clients. Here are the three prominent products;
- GENOA 3DP Simulation – GENOA 3DP is an additive manufacturing design tool and software suite for polymers, metals and ceramics. The simulate to print toolset showcases robust capabilities and seamless user interactivity, making it a suitable solution for various applications. It provides users with accuracy down to the micro-scale and reduces material waste & engineering time considerably, GENOA 3DP can quickly be integrated into any process for an optimum AM build. GENOA 3DP allows engineers to accurately predict void, net-shape, residual stress, crack growth and other anomalies associated with as-built AM parts.
- GENOA MS-PFA – GENOA is a durability & damage tolerance, progressive failure, and reliability software that provide engineers with predictive computational technology to characterize and qualify advanced composite materials and structures. Through GENOA’s true De-Homogenized Multi-Scale Progressive Failure Analysis, engineers are able to assess failure at the macro, micro and nano levels for advanced materials and composite structures subject to static, fatigue, impact and environmental loadings.
- MCQ (Material Characterization & Qualification) – MCQ is a material modeling toolset providing engineers with advanced analytic tools to characterize and qualify material properties as input for finite element analysis. Starting with the results of standard ASTM tests, fiber volume, density, resin content and void volume, MCQ reverse engineers in-situ constituent properties of fibers and matrix while taking into consideration manufacturing anomalies, effect of defects, complex architectures, effect of environment and scatter. The MCQ suite of software consists of MCQ Composites, MCQ Chopped, and MCQ Ceramics. MCQ suite of software addresses continuous fiber, discontinuous fiber, ceramic matrix, and hybrid systems. MCQ supports a library of validated classes of composite materials in order to make better parts, better components and better solutions.
Solving Industries Complex Problems with the Expertise
The Founder and CTO, Dr. Frank Abdi established AlphaSTAR, in 1989, with a mission to utilize his expertise in material science, structural analysis, and computational modeling to dissect and solve the industry’s most complex material design challenges. “Now, after 30 years, I can proudly state that with the help of my AlphaSTAR colleagues, I have achieved that goal and much, much, more,” says Dr.Frank. As a sign of great leader, he has never stopped pushing, probing, prodding and breaking through the envelope, despite the chagrin of management. Dr. Frank asserts, “Science is as interesting and exciting now as it was forty years ago. Best of all experience has given me knowledge.” So many of the challenges faced today are often times variations of complex challenges he faced in the past, which only fuels his desire to never stop exploring, and stay ahead of the pack.
Leaning into the Future
In the coming future, AlphaSTAR will continue to explore Additive Manufacturing with an emphasis on part qualification, in-situ monitoring, feed forward control, relative parametric equivalency, machine agnosticism, service loading, and cyber security. In addition, AlphaSTAR will explore modeling, design and material selection for hypersonic thermal management systems, with an emphasis on computational models and tests that address EBC, TBC, substrate, ceramic matrix composites, exotic metals, film boiling wicking and AM for Hypersonic. Finally AlphaSTAR will continue to pursue Structural Health Monitoring with real-time diagnostic and prognostic for composite, metal and ceramic material systems applied to advanced structural platforms.
Talent Workforce Elevating the Company
The hardworking, motivated, highly intellectual and creative workforces of the AlphaSTAR team are the real backbone of its success. They are thriving under pressure and motivated by science. Each member of the skilled team is selected for his or her unique skills and everyone makes a valuable contribution to the total effort. They are pushing the envelope and developing next generation technology. The team consists of mature professionals and supplements that core with new talent and older experienced hands. The strength of the company is in camaraderie and trust in each other. The trust and commitment in the team is fearless, enoucouraging them to take on challenges that most companies would avoid.