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.

  • Sculpteo to purchase AM-VISION, AM-SORT and AM-BAGGING systems

    Sculpteo, part of BASF and a leading online 3D printing service provider in France, signed a contract with Dutch company AM-Flow to purchase multiple AM-Flow systems and specifically the AM-VISION, AM-SORT and AM-BAGGING systems. The combined cutting-edge system will help revolutionize Sculpteo’s production process by using advanced vision technology to…

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  • How the Formlabs Automation Ecosystem will eliminate downtime

    Leading SLA 3D printer manufacturers Formlabs is starting the new year with a pretty major innovation to increase the productivity of its Form 3/B/+ printers SLA 3D printers. The new Formlabs Automation Ecosystem is an integrated solution that includes the Form Auto hardware attachment, the Fleet Control suite of software…

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  • Hexagon acquires digital twin creation company Loclab - strengthening Hexagon’s ability to make its Smart Digital Reality more accessible.

    Hexagon invests $100 million in Divergent Technologies

    Hexagon AB, a global leader in digital reality solutions combining sensor, software, and autonomous technologies, has invested $100 million (a portion of which is subject to certain regulatory approvals) in Divergent Technologies Inc., a pioneer of green manufacturing technologies with the first modular digital factory for the automotive industry. Divergent…

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  • See the new AM-QUALITY system launched at Formnext 2022

    As the AM industry morphs from prototyping to high-quality manufacturing, Dutch workflow automation company AM-Flow is officially launching AM-QUALITY, the world’s first AM In-Line Quality Control solution at Formnext 2022. The system will be unveiled with an exclusive event on the first day of Formnext, set for 12.00 pm at…

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  • Siemens and Desktop Metal partner to accelerate sustainable AM at scale

    Siemens and Desktop Metal, Inc., global leaders in digitalization and additive manufacturing technologies, have entered a multi-faceted partnership aimed at accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing for production applications with a focus on the world’s largest manufacturers. The sweeping collaboration will touch many aspects of the Desktop Metal business and…

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  • Parts On Demand and AM-Flow collaborate on part recognition

    Parts On Demand, a 3D printing service provider specializing in industrial, medical, and orthopedic applications, and AM-Flow, the specialist in end-to-end workflow automation for the additive manufacturing industry, have entered a partnership to optimize the identification and sorting of custom series products with minimal deviations and/or unique printed codes. Automated…

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  • Optomec and Acme Manufacturing showcase industry-first, fully automated, work cell for the repair of aircraft engines.

    Optomec and Acme Manufacturing showcase industry-first work cell

    Optomec Inc., a leader in metal additive manufacturing solutions, and Acme Manufacturing, a global leader in robotic material removal systems, are set to showcase an industry-first, fully automated work cell, initially optimized for repairing aviation compressor blades made of titanium. The turnkey work cell is the product of a two-year…

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  • 3dpbm Pulse Podcast Ep. 10: paperless production with AM

    Today’s episode brings together two companies that represent at the same time, the history and the future of additive manufacturing: the AM workflow automation experts at AM Flow and the rapidly growing US-based AM service provider Midwest Prototyping. Midwest Prototyping started in 2001 with the purchase of a desk and…

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  • First 20 commercial VLM systems to be shipped by BCN3D in Spring 2023. These elite customers will be the first to acquire these systems.

    First 20 VLM printers to be shipped by BCN3D in Spring 2023

    Earlier this year, BCN3D Technologies announced that its strive for innovation had led its 3D printing experts to never-before-seen 3D printing technology, using high viscosity resins. Developed over the last three years, the patented Viscous Lithography Manufacturing (VLM) provoked mass interest worldwide, with more than 500 companies registering to become…

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  • Triditive secures €5M pre-series A funding round. Enabling the company to continue developing the automation of additive manufacturing

    Triditive secures €5M in pre-series A funding round

    Triditive, a Spanish-based company focused on the automation of additive manufacturing, has secured €5M in a pre-series A funding round. The capital injection was led by a notable Spanish industrial group. Triditive’s objective in this new phase is to continue the development of the automation of additive manufacturing – enabling…

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