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.

  • The Omegasonics SST4030 Ultrasonic Parts Cleaner

    Omegasonics releases updated post-processing chamber

    California-based Omegasonics released updated ultrasonic cleaning equipment, which will allow for faster, more precise additive manufacturing. The updated machine cleans plastics like ABS, Polycarbonate, Nylon 12, and PCABS, thus making post-processing easier and more automated. This kind of technology goes toward making AM suitable for mass production. The difference between…

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  • Siemens presents virtual AM reference factory for SLS and post-processing

    Under the motto “Partnering for the next step to industrialize Additive Manufacturing”, and in collaboration with EOS and DyeMansion, Siemens is introducing the first virtual AM reference factory for selective laser sintering with polymers. Using the example of a midsole for footwear applications in which parameters such as design, fit…

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  • AM-Flow presents AM-BAGGING solution at Formnext Connect

    AM-Flow, a provider of manufacturing solutions for automation of AM post-production, will unveil its new AM-BAGGING module at the use upcoming Formnext Connect event. Central to AM-Flow’s technology proposition is its mission to reduce the costly, labor-intensive aspect of post-processing within the 3D printing workflow. By automating processes at this…

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  • HP advances automation for additive manufacturing with new HP Universal Build Manager

    In advance of Formnext Connect, HP announced significant advancements in the management and automation of complex 3D printing workflows and large-scale additive manufacturing fleets. HP unveiled a new software solution, the HP Universal Build Manager Powered by Dyndrite, bringing increased productivity and efficiency as well as automation to additive build…

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  • A representation of Industry 4.0 and additive manufacturing automation

    AM-Flow raises $4M to deliver full end-to-end AM automation

    AM-Flow, a Dutch industrial automation company focused on additive manufacturing automation, obtained four million dollars of Series A funding, which allows the company to begin providing step-change automation to the AM industry. The funding also allows the company to move toward its industry 4.0 goal of the lights-out factory, where…

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  • ExOne InnoventPro X1D1 product release

    ExOne unveils new binder jetting products, InnoventPro and X1D1 AGV

    ExOne is further cementing its place as a leader in binder jetting technologies today, with the unveiling of two new products: InnoventPro, an advanced entry-level binder jetting system for metals, ceramics and composites; and the X1D1, an automated guided vehicle for the company’s X1 160Pro production system. Both systems are…

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  • Nexa3D SIemens factory automation

    Nexa3D integrating Siemens factory automation across QLS portfolio

    Polymer 3D printer company Nexa3D is teaming up with Siemens to bring its AM production systems up to speed for Industry 4.0 connectivity. The companies will leverage their respective areas of expertise to standardize Nexa3D’s whole Quantum Laser Sintering (QLS) product line to Siemens’ factory automation and computing technologies. (Earlier…

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  • Siemens Sintavia partnership

    Sintavia and Siemens drive AM automation with end-to-end software

    Sintavia, a metal AM provider specializing in aerospace and defense applications, is partnering with Siemens Digital Industries Software to develop an end-to-end additive manufacturing software solution. The software program, which will be informed by Sintavia’s testing and technical feedback, will be included in Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio. As part of the…

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  • DigiFabster Machine Shop

    What does tomorrow’s machine shop look like?

    It’s a pivotal time for manufacturing. As an industry, we are in the midst of a technological transformation so profound that many have called it a revolution. It’s been called the era of “The Smart Factory,” or “Hybrid Shop,” or Industry 4.0. However you refer to it, there’s no arguing…

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  • Renishaw Additive Automations post-process

    Additive Automations and Renishaw automating AM post-processing

    Last month, we looked closely at the role of automation in the additive manufacturing industry and at how it is the key to advancing the technology’s broad industrialization. One of the areas in the AM chain where automation is still considered to be lacking is in metal post-processing. Recognizing this,…

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