AM Software

AM Software is the “fourth power” within the end-to-end AM production cycle, together with hardware, materials and applications. The impact of software on the future of digital production is obvious but perhaps it is not yet fully understood where it is that software can affect and contribute to improve and optimize the future of manufacturing.

All digital production inevitably begins with a CAD (Computer Aided Design) model. Therefore CAD (or 3D modeling) software was the first element to emerge in the new industrial revolution. As further proof of this, CAD software companies have been taking off in terms of financial performance since AM began to emerge as a production method. Autodesk, Dassault Systèmes, Siemens, Altair and Ansys, to name a few of the largest companies in this segment, have been booming. At the same time, all these companies have made some very significant investments in AM and DfAM.

DfAM is the second highly relevant way that software impacts digital production. The acronym stands for “Design for Additive Manufacturing” and indicates all those new approaches to product and part creation that are made possible by the virtually endless geometric possibilities opened up by additive manufacturing. These tools, also known by the acronym CAE (Computer Aided Engineering), include parametric first and later generative software tools that are enabling engineers to create an entirely new generation of bio-inspired products, that are lighter, more complex and way more efficient.

Simulation software is necessary to make sure that these new—never seen before—products do perform as they are intended to, while AM software is also necessary to make sure that the AM hardware transforms into real physical products that which was imagined and then translated into a digital product or—as they are increasingly described now—a product’s digital twin. AM-specific CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) software is necessary to give a growing number of different systems and technologies the proper instructions to produce a part layer by layer and even voxel by voxel. The process monitoring software—and a growing demand for artificial intelligence power—is necessary to ensure that this happens without errors.

Once an AM part emerges from an AM machine it needs to move on to the next stations of the end-to-end digital production cycle. These include non-disruptive analysis via 3D and CAT scanning (and software is necessary here as well), part finishing (which requires adequate software and accurately studied design methods) and part handling. All these phases—and all the previous phases—need to be controlled and coordinated by AM-specific MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) software. In fact, the entire lifecycle of the product, from the initial quotation to its final use, can now be digitalized and controlled via PLM  (Product Lifecycle Management) software.

This is the area where the giants of software are squaring off to define the way we will make anything and everything.

  • Last-mile workflow customization, a 3DEXPERIENCE like no other

    Additive manufacturing technology offers flexibility for the entire value chain. Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform for AM enables engineers to design and simulate highly optimized parts based on space allocation, loads, constraints, and manufacturing processes while also considering multi-material requirements (polymers, metals, and engineered materials) and specialized 3D printers produce these…

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  • Fraunhofer IGD scientists develop new process to avoid stair-step artifacts. Eliminating the artifacts in multi-material 3D printing

    Fraunhofer IGD scientists develop new process to avoid stair-step artifacts

    Scientists at Fraunhofer IGD – Mostafa Morsy Abdelkader Morsy, Alan Brunton, and Philipp Urban – whose ‘3D Printing Technology’ department is responsible for the creation of Cuttlefish, have devised a purely geometric and algorithmic method for the elimination of stair-step artifacts in multi-material 3D printing. To avoid quantization errors, the…

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  • ASICS releases ACTIBREEZE 3D (printed) SANDAL. Delivering optimized comfort, cooling and softness for the recovering athlete.

    ASICS releases ACTIBREEZE 3D (printed) SANDAL

    ASICS has launched its new ACTIBREEZE 3D SANDAL – a 3D printed sandal specifically designed to help the body and mind of a recovering athlete in the ‘After Performance’ phase. The ACTIBREEZE 3D SANDAL features a novel geometric structure, made possible through parametric design and advanced 3D printing technology, to…

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  • CloudPrint 2.0 released by MakerBot. MakerBot CloudPrint now includes an enhanced interface, and several new and upgraded features.

    CloudPrint 2.0 released by MakerBot

    MakerBot, a company that forms part of the Stratasys portfolio, has released CloudPrint 2.0 – a major upgrade to its print preparation and management solution, MakerBot CloudPrint. MakerBot CloudPrint now includes an enhanced interface for a smoother user experience, and several new and upgraded features that enable users to go…

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  • 3DEO adds DfAM as core service. Offering design and engineering services to its customers throughout the entire product lifecycle.

    3DEO adds DfAM as core service

    Los Angeles-based 3DEO, one of the world’s highest volume metal 3D printing companies, has added design and engineering services to its portfolio of offerings, to better support its customers throughout the entire product lifecycle. 3DEO is introducing advanced end-to-end solutions to product and engineering teams across all industries, specializing in…

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  • New digital products launched by Xometry. The Industrial Buying Engine on Thomasnet.com, and Xometry Workcenter.

    New digital products launched by Xometry

    During a virtual event titled “The Xometry Marketplace: Powering Tomorrow’s Supply Chain”, Xometry launched a suite of new digital products, including – The Industrial Buying Engine on Thomasnet.com, and Workcenter (an all-in-one “manufacturing execution system”). The company has also opened the new Workcenter to third-party developers. The Industrial Buying Engine…

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  • Shree Rapid Technologies partners with BCN3D. Brining BCN3D's IDEX printing technology to manufacturers in India.

    Shree Rapid Technologies partners with BCN3D

    Barcelona-based 3D printer manufacturer, BCN3D, has partnered with Shree Rapid Technologies, one of the largest 3D printing and 3D scanning solutions providers in India. The partnership aims to help manufacturers in India to drive innovation, increase productivity, cut costs, and streamline workflows with the advanced 3D printing technologies from BCN3D,…

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  • SAGA Space Architects 3D print 7-meter-tall analog moon habitat. The habitat is the world's tallest 3D printed polymer structure.

    SAGA Space Architects 3D print 7-meter-tall analog moon habitat

    SAGA Space Architects, a Copenhagen-based design practice working on making space liveable for future space travelers, have 3D printed their new 7-meter-tall analog moon habitat – the world’s tallest 3D printed polymer structure. The shell has been topologically optimized, and the corrugated surface generated, to withstand the specific forces the…

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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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  • MachineWorks makes 3MF example code available for Polygonica. Making the lives of client software developers easier.

    MachineWorks makes 3MF example code available for Polygonica

    MachineWorks Ltd, a company that has been providing advanced 3D software engines to manufacturers and engineering software developers since 1994, has made available example source code supporting data transfer of 3MF files with Polygonica – MachineWorks’ unique Boolean engine that provides automatic mesh repair and offsetting capabilities. Most existing Polygonica…

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