Over the past five years, 3D printing has continued to shift from prototyping and small batch production to a mass customization production technology. All major industrial and non-industrial 3D printer OEMs are now striving to integrate their systems into complete end-to-end workflows. While the additive manufacturing process remains the core part of digital production, automating the end-to-end workflow goes well beyond the AM process itself.

It begins with automating and streamlining part design and optimization for AM through DfAM tools, which continues through digital warehouses and digital twins. Designs converge with automated material supply lines for material (for powders, pastes, resins or fibers) handling, as manufacturing execution software (MES) brings together and coordinates 3D printer networks and workflow stations.

Simulation and process monitoring software oversee the AM process all the way to the measurement and NDT, phases recognizing and even correcting errors via machine learning and AI. Robots remove parts from the print platform, as excess materials are recycled and reused. Automated post-processing equipment sinter, heat-treat, cure, polish and smooth surfaces until you get a final, digitally and additively manufactured part. With minimal human intervention. This is the vision. Where do we stand now?Those who build the infrastructure for the digital, additive, automated factory of tomorrow will be at the forefront of the ongoing industrial revolution and additive manufacturing systems are increasingly going to be the core elements within any credible industry 4.0 approach. In this month’s AM Focus, we will look at the latest trends in additive manufacturing automation.

  • 3D Printlife now an official seller of Quinly automation from 3DQue

    3D Printlife is now an official reseller of Quinly automation from 3DQue for Prusa MK3 and other FFF printers. 3D PrintLife supplies a wide variety of eco-friendly filaments. When combined with Quinly automation, eco-friendly mass-production is now possible on some of the most popular 3D printers. 3D Printlife is a…

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  • Sakuú Corporation jump-starts pilot facility for solid-state batteries

    Sakuu Corporation officially started its pilot line and learning center. The new pilot line, originally announced in May 2021, will have the capability to produce up to 2.5 MWh per year of solid-state batteries and in the future will also serve as a customer learning center for its advanced additive…

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  • Automating automation systems with Schubert PartBox

    German firm Schubert has been making automation systems since the 60s. Today the core of its business is represented by the TLM systems, which are state-of-the-art packaging machines. In other words, they represent the ultimate and final step in mass production automation. Foods, drinks, consumer products: everything that can be…

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  • DAMP, a new acronym to convey the evolution of AM into mass production

    We have grown accustomed to using the acronym AM to indicate additive manufacturing. In the past companies like Airbus have also used ALM (additive layer manufacturing). As additive manufacturing evolves into a technology used in direct, digital production of large series of parts, rather than one-offs, short batches, prototypes and…

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  • Going with the AM-Flow

    Ever since 3D printers began the paradigmatic shift from stand-alone rapid prototyping machines to networked units within production workflows, it became clear that additive manufacturing—the most digital among manufacturing processes—was also the least automated and the hardest to integrate into full end-to-end production workflows. By comparison, injection molding—the least digital…

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  • Sakuú Corporation develops 3Ah lithium metal solid-state battery

    Sakuú Corporation (previously KeraCel Inc.), the still somewhat mysterious company that is working on developing an automated multi-process AM technology for EV battery production, has developed a new 3Ah lithium-metal solid-state battery (SSB) that reportedly equals or betters current lithium-ion batteries. As proof, Sakuu provided a photo of its first-generation…

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  • BMW-led study highlights need for AI-based AM part identification

    The current identification of AM components at the end of the overall process chain represents a non-scalable and cost-intensive manual, labor intensive process. The variety of geometries in prototyping leads to complex challenges where existing automation solutions cannot be implemented. AI-based image recognition can be an improvement in this regard,…

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  • Midwest Prototyping commissions new AM-Flow production line

    Midwest Prototyping recently took their next step towards a fully automated additive manufacturing production plant with end-to-end product tracking and tracing by installing the AM-VISION and AM-SORT, in the AM-Flow production line at their Blue Mounds production facility. The company is one of the first clients of AM-Flow using AM-Flow’s…

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  • Quinly for Prusa

    3DQue Systems launches Quinly for Prusa

    The 3D printing automation package known as Quinly from 3DQue is now available for the Prusa MK3, one of the best-known FFF-style printers on the market. by pairing autonomous printing with Prusa MK3’s recognized reliability, Quinly for Prusa creates production efficiency unseen in the world of affordable 3D printing. “Quinly…

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  • 3DQue to stream live video on running a 3D printing farm

    Are you thinking of scaling up your 3D printing operations? Considering buying another printer? If so, you may want to watch 3DQue’s live stream today at 5:30 PM (Pacific time) After running 51 automated Ender 3 3D printers for over a year and producing thousands of parts in a variety of…

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