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 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. Then process monitoring software – and a growing demand of 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.

  • Dalia Lasaite interview CGTrader

    Since its founding in 2011, Lithuania-based CGTrader has grown into one of the biggest online marketplaces for 3D models. The platform hosts roughly 800,000 3D models and enables businesses to easily connect with talented 3D designers for 3D modeling projects and commissions for VR/AR applications, game development and 3D printing.…

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  • Markforged Blacksmith

    3D printing company Markforged has announced the availability of Blacksmith, an AI-powered software that makes additive manufacturing systems “aware” so they can adjust programming and parameters to ensure optimal print results. The software, which Markforged says is the first of its kind, is built to enable smart factory environments and “Adaptive…

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  • Identify3D software suite

    Digital supply chain software company Identify3D is introducing its latest suite of software solutions to enable manufacturers to facilitate additive manufacturing and decentralize manufacturing models. The software update addresses intellectual property protection, manufacturing repeatability and traceability in order to secure the digital manufacturing process from ever-evolving security threats. The software…

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  • Materialise Nikon HP Essentium

    Materialise has partnered with HP, Essentium and Nikon to bring improved productivity and connectivity to additive manufacturing operations. The partnerships, announced at the 2019 RAPID + TCT conference in Detroit, will support the adoption of 3D printing by industrial manufacturers. Materialise also announced that it will release a new version of…

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  • To kick off our women in AM focus series this month, we spoke to Lee-Bath Nelson, co-founder of LEO Lane, a well-known provider of security and intellectual property (IP) protection solutions for the AM industry. The Israel-based company, founded in 2014, enables manufacturers to not only protect their IP for…

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  • Ganit Goldstein Shifted Souls

    Up-and-coming fashion designer Ganit Goldstein may not have had her 3D printed wearables on display at the recent Met Gala (where Zac Posen became the latest designer to use 3D printing in his work), but her designs are striking nonetheless. Her most recent collection, Shifted Craft, was debuted at Milan…

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  • AMFG Request Ordering Portal

    Additive manufacturing workflow automation software company AMFG has announced a new update to its software solution to ease the order handling process for 3D printing service bureaus and OEMs. The new Request and Ordering Portal for AMFG’s platform offers users a customizable solution for automating order requests and handling for…

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  • CogniCAD 2.1 update ParaMatters

    Generative design software developer ParaMatters Inc. announced the release of CogniCAD 2.1, an updated version of its software platform capable of automatically generating ready-to-print, high-performance and lightweighted structures for the aerospace and automotive industries, among others. ParaMatters first officially launched its CogniCAD platform last year at Formnext 2018 where the…

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  • Lightweight CoroMill 390 Sandvik Coromant

    Swedish tooling system specialist Sandvik Coromant has introduced a new metal cutting tool produced using additive manufacturing, the Lightweight CoroMill 390. The new product benefits from a lighter weight than the traditional CoroMill 390, which minimizes vibrations and improves security when machining with long overhangs. The Lightweight CoroMill 390 also unlocks…

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  • Electric Superbike Twente K3D

    Electric Superbike Twente, a Dutch developer of electric motorcycles, recently teamed up with local AM company K3D to develop one of the first metal 3D printed components for the racing industry. The part in question is an electric motor cooling shell for the company’s second generation Superbike. When producing the…

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