Automation

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.

  • Photo of AM-Flow raises $4M to deliver full end-to-end AM 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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  • Photo of ExOne unveils new binder jetting products, InnoventPro and X1D1 AGV

    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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  • Photo of Nexa3D integrating Siemens factory automation across QLS portfolio

    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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  • Photo of Sintavia and Siemens drive AM automation with end-to-end software

    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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  • Photo of What does tomorrow’s machine shop look like?

    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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  • Photo of Additive Automations and Renishaw automating AM post-processing

    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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  • Photo of Entering a new DyeMansion

    Entering a new DyeMansion

    This interview was originally published in the 3dpbm AM Focus eBook on Automation. Quoting a popular fictional character, post-processing can be described as “The cause of—and solution to—all of 3D printing’s production challenges”.  It is the cause of said challenges because 3D printed parts require intensive post-processing steps, more so than…

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  • Photo of Formlabs now offering customer-tailored ‘Formlabs Factory Solutions’

    Formlabs now offering customer-tailored ‘Formlabs Factory Solutions’

    SLA 3D printing company Formlabs is now offering customers a new package to facilitate additive manufacturing adoption and scaling. The new product offering, Formlabs Factory Solutions, combines 3D printing hardware, software and materials. Formlabs Factory Solutions is essentially a 3D printing ecosystem that enables businesses to build tailored 3D printing…

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  • Photo of Time for AM factories to get in AiSync

    Time for AM factories to get in AiSync

    This interview was originally published in the 3dpbm AM Focus eBook on Automation. On the topic of automation, London-based Ai Build needs no introduction. The company, which has brought to market a large-scale robotic 3D printing platform, was founded with the express goal of solving automation-related challenges associated with additive manufacturing. …

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  • Photo of Construction 3D printing startup Mighty Buildings launches with $30M backing

    Construction 3D printing startup Mighty Buildings launches with $30M backing

    There’s a new player in the construction 3D printing market: Mighty Buildings, an Oakland, California-based startup with a focus on automated home building solutions has just progressed beyond stealth mode. The company, which has raised an impressive $30 million from investors (including Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator, SV Angel and CoreVC),…

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