Berlin-based AM software company 3YOURMIND has launched the full version of its Agile Manufacturing Execution System (MES). The software, which increases production floor efficiency and agility with smart part prioritization, custom workflow creation and other tools, is being showcased at AMUG this week in Chicago.
The software offering has been in the making for some time, as 3YOURMIND has collaborated with big players in the additive manufacturing industry to develop order management software solutions. Going a step further, into the realm of the production floor, the company also sought to find solutions to workflow challenges associated with additive manufacturing.
As part of this, the company launched an Early Access Program through which AM power users could provide direct feedback about the production floor and 3YOURMIND’s software solutions. Participating companies, including Voestalpine, Eckhart, EOS and Tenco, were therefore able to give immediate feedback and see results soon after.
“Agile MES helps us to optimize our workflow so that our machine efficiency is higher,” said Tom Castermans, founder and owner of Belgian plastic fabrication company Tenco CCM. “It also helped us to minimize our paper workflow as the system gives every operator the ability to check all required data, to select the right steps in post processing and to make sure every part is finished in the right way.”
The newly launched Agile MES software offers a full range of tools aimed at improving workflow efficiency, including smart part prioritization, custom workflow creation, rapid scheduling and rescheduling and tracking by order, part and unit. Newer tools, such as linking and tracking custom workflows from end to end were integrated based on feedback from early users, who identified those capabilities as high priority.
“The Agile MES EAP allowed us to move very quickly from a list of features to a prioritized action plan that we could test directly with AM users,” elaborated Daniel Burckhardt, Agile MES Product Owner, 3YOURMIND. “Both our programming team and our customers were full of motivation since we knew the features would be put straight into real-world testing and that both sides would have a large impact on shaping how software can directly address production needs.”
Using 3YOURMIND’s software solution, participants of the Early Access Program reported improved scheduling accuracy and time estimations within just two months. Other positives included more balanced order deadlines, improved material selection and machine efficiency. Notably, by automating tasks such as production scheduling, production engineers said they were able to focus more on improving production.
Digital inventory and automatic production sheets
Agile MES also offers a digital production inventory which stores all 3D files, part requirements, final workflow selections and communications between users and production engineers to improve repeatability.
The program also offers a solution for automating production sheets. Traditionally, paper production sheets accompanied parts throughout each stage of production in a daily worklist. Now, the documents can be automated in MES, saving scheduling time and improving quality assurance, as pre-set documentation is automatically generated when a production method is selected. This specific feature was reportedly developed in just six weeks, highlighting the agility of the production floor software.
An agile system
The next area of focus for the Agile MES solution will be on machine connectivity, including documentation of production parameters and a software evaluation of that data for quality assurance. This feature will be especially relevant to service bureaus that 3D print parts for the aerospace and medical sectors.
“For Agile Manufacturing, the Agile MES will need to both GET and PUSH data from all major AM machines and post-processing systems,” said Stephan Küht, CEO of 3YOURMIND. “We are already integrating the data from several vendors into our software and expect to support all major machines. Receiving and processing machine data allows us to provide the documentation that is needed for quality assurance and to increase the repeatability of additive manufacturing. Pushing data directly to machines will be the key to automating production.”
In upcoming months, 3YOURMIND plans to announce more feature sets for the agile software platform. Ultimately, the company aims to facilitate agile manufacturing on the production floor.