One of the keys to taking additive manufacturing to the next level in terms of industrialization is software. AM software advancements will not only unlock new designs and geometries, but will enable more efficient, connected and, crucially, automated production workflows. Fortunately, there are many software developers in the industry which are committed to improving the AM workflow, from end to end.
Just days before Formnext 2019 kicks off (where we will surely hear about and see many announcements pertaining to software), here are some announcements from some of the key players in the 3D printing software game: AMFG, Autodesk, nTopology, CADS Additive, MachineWorks and 3YOURMIND.
AMFG and Autodesk team up for end-to-end AM workflow software
AMFG, a provider of MES software for AM, is teaming up with software giant Autodesk to link its MES platform to Autodesk’s design and simulation software, Netfabb. Thanks to the collaboration, users will be able to seamlessly use AMFG’s workflow tools with Netfabb, resulting in an end-to-end digital workflow, covering design all the way to production.
“One of the biggest barriers for companies looking to scale their AM operations is the lack of a seamless, end-to-end workflow,” said Keyvan Karimi, CEO of AMFG. “Today, much of the additive manufacturing landscape is still made up of a series of disconnected and manual steps, which make managing the process inefficient and unscalable. We are delighted to work with Autodesk, a leader in its field, to enable a truly end-to-end workflow solution and provide the workflow traceability and scalability needed to help push AM to industrialisation.”
Users will be able to more easily move from design, to simulation, to printing prep, to workflow coordination through the combination of Autodesk’s various design tools and AMFG’s workflow automation software, which includes request coordination, production scheduling, data analytics and more.
Alexander Oster, Director of Additive Manufacturing at Autodesk, added: “Our advanced design optimisation solutions, combined with AMFG’s workflow automation platform, will also enable companies to scale their operations effectively. We look forward to continue to support AMFG on more automation solutions to help our customers unlock the full industrial potential of additive manufacturing.”
nTopology announces nTop Platform 2.0
Computational modeling software developer nTopology has announced the latest version of its nTop Platform engineering software, which includes application-specific Toolkits that enable engineers to benefit from easier and enhanced workflows right out of the gate.
The nTop Platform engineering software is capable of handling complex geometries with both speed and ease-of-use. The prepackaged Toolkits included in version 2.0 as well as specialized authoring capabilities will help to further automate and streamline engineering workflows. The nTop Platform 2.0’s authoring capabilities also create new opportunities for users by allowing advanced engineers to create their own proprietary toolkits. This capability will enable companies to securely share knowledge and design tools across the organization.
nTop Platform’s new prepackaged Toolkits include the following: Lightweighting Toolkit, Architected Materials Toolkit, Design Analysis Toolkit, Topology Optimization Toolkit, and Additive Manufacturing Toolkit.
CADS Additive and MachineWorks deepen partnership
AM process data preparation algorithm developer CADS Additive is deepening its partnership with MachineWorks to focus on Polygonica mesh manipulation.
“We are really happy to have a close working relationship with MachineWorks and the Polygonica team,” said Dr. Daniel Stadlmayr, Head of R&D at CADS Additive. “The proven algorithms underpinning Polygonica have given our engineers more time to innovate and address the specific requirements and challenges of high-end metal printing. Not only is our time to market shortened but we’ve produced better algorithms as a result. Being not only a customer but a partner is what makes the difference between MachineWorks and others.”
The standalone AM-Studio, available for machine users to buy directly, is based on CADS Additive’s Additive.Core build processor for slicing, hatching and infill, as well as the Additive.Support module for generating lightweight and reliable support geometry. CADS Additive tools can also be found integrated in the data preparation solutions of various software and hardware providers.
For several years, CADS Additive has ensured the accuracy of its polygon data using MachineWorks’ Polygonica solid modeling software tools. As part of the strengthened partnership, CADS Additive will extend its focus to post-printing workflows.
3YOURMIND adds machine connectivity to Agile MES software
In a bid to take production floor automation up a notch, software developer 3YOURMIND has integrated machine connectivity into its Agile MES software. The integration will facilitate machine utilization, production transparency and the scaling of industrial AM.
The first machine connectivity release by the company includes a number of tools, including real-time monitoring of machine status, automatic print time adjustments and alerting the Agile MES schedule of production errors and warnings. All the data from the software is also translated to the umati data standard, which makes it possible to compare multiple types of machine.
Overall, the machine connectivity tools will make it easier for producers to manage multiple AM machines (even different AM processes) by centralizing all AM data.
To date, the company has tested and validated its machine connectivity with EOS and Ultimaker printers. 3YOURMIND is also working closely with ten other companies: Aconity3D, BigRep, DyeMansion, Formlabs, GEFERTEC, One Click Metal, Prodways, SLM, Stratasys and TRUMPF. Connectivity is expected to be validated by Q2 2020 for many of these partners.
“Our goal is to bring visibility to the production floor by uniting data streams throughout the whole value chain,” said Stephan Kühr, CEO of 3YOURMIND. “We combine design and business data with real-time production data from 3D printers and post processing machines. When our software is working with real-time data, we can keep production moving smoothly and respond quickly to changes. Those are important cornerstones for Agile Manufacturing.”
When machine connectivity is achieved with all of its 3D printer partners, 3YOURMIND says it will turn its focus to post-production connectivity.