In the academic field industrial design is comparatively little acknowledged in university research. Generally the research undertaken there in this field is not different to that of a so called German “university of applied sciences”, in reality a polytechnic or technical college. This means, that when it comes to specific industrial design projects, problems will be feigned initially. Then each futuristic appearing principle will be drawn upon to consolidate one’s own position. A critical questioning of the means purposefully used is often neglected since this could obstruct the original conceptual design and in the worst case would even impede it.

In contrast to this approach, preliminary research is undertaken by ‘scionic I.D.E.A.L.’;
new developments in manufacturing technologies as well as trends in design processes are critically scrutinized. This should assist in verifying potentials of processes on the basis of concrete projects and to assess them through practical application.

With the presented project this method will be illustrated via the pneumatic gripper systems. Three bio-mimetically induced end effectors will be compared to traditionally developed variant type. The methods of ideation as well as the respective production technologies will be juxtaposed and their results presented.

In a first step, through the results of invention, it will be demonstrated that the bionic approach is not always necessary in order to present the same designs as a logically inductive concept development.

Subsequently, in comparing the relevant fabrication methods, it will be demonstrated, that processes, advertised as seminal, may not fulfill all requirements in contrast to traditional production methods. This is particularly the case for selective laser melting of metals, once it is used for an object that requires high mechanical strength properties with a minimal cross-sectional area.

As for the development of the grippers different design software was used, new insights can be deducted from this study: the software tools used do predetermine not only the exterior style, but also the structure of an object to be materialized, just as the material’s texture will be by the fabrication method chosen.

Owing to the specific process of generative-additive Laser melting of metal, one of a kind, “unique geometrical” copies as compared with the original design data are being fabricated due to warping and creeping opposite to traditionally machined production methods. Consequently there have to be more objects batch produced than lot size one in order to achieve a relative optimum while the resulting precision and microstructure will not come up to traditionally machined products. A materialized mimicry is mostly generated compared to the fully functional, real product, also regarding form and content of biomimicry (in nature).

This research project evidenced, that industrial design, as taught at real universities, does not have to be limited to simulated product development only.
It may present results, which can be of great interest for further transdisciplinary research projects.

Keywords: biomimetic design vs. traditional development, additive-generative prototyping by Selective Laser Melting, α+β Titanium in alloy, microstructures, creeping, macro- and micro-cracks