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.

  • Photo of Digital Metal software upgrade triples print speed of DM P2500

    Digital Metal, a Swedish developer of binder jetting metal AM, has introduced a new software upgrade that reportedly triples the printing speed of its DM P2500 3D printer. The increased printing rate can enable users to scale up production volumes without compromising the quality of printed parts. The answer to…

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  • Photo of NIH 3D Print Exchange hosts curated selection of PPE for COVID-19

    The NIH 3D Print Exchange by the U.S.’ National Institutes of Health is an important resource in the medical sector, providing 3D printable models for a range of biomedical applications. While the platform has primarily functioned as a repository for anatomical models, the NIH 3D Print Exchange now also hosts…

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  • Photo of Sigma Labs introduces PrintRite3D Production series

    Sigma Labs, Inc. has announced the launch of a new software-based offering, PrintRite3D Production Series. The quality assurance solution introduces new features such as the Production Dashboard, and offers useful information and AI-driven metrics to production managers. The company says its platform can enhance the speed and agility of the…

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  • Photo of Hyperganic designs 3D printed rocket engine using AI

    Hyperganic, a Germany-based developer of AI-driven design software, has created a prototype of a 3D printed rocket engine designed entirely using artificial intelligence. The 3D printed engine is designed to be built in a single piece, integrating several components, like the combustion chamber and surface channels, into one structure. Founded…

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  • Photo of Harvard Semitic Museum 3D scans Ancient Egyptian sarcophagi

    A team from the Harvard Semitic Museum has 3D scanned a series of three sarcophagi from Ancient Egypt, which are now viewable through 3D modeling platform SketchFab. The effort is part of a broader project that aims to digitize artifacts from Ancient Egyptian civilizations to be shared online for “study…

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  • Photo of A guide to design for Desktop Metal’s BMD process

    Increasing the accessibility and cost-efficiency of metal additive manufacturing has been a goal of the industry since its early days. Today, as broad industrialization looms on the horizon, there is one company that can be credited as helping to dramatically accelerate this journey: Desktop Metal. The Massachusetts-based company, which drew…

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  • Photo of Simufact and Renishaw to improve simulation for multi-laser metal AM

    Engineering firm Renishaw has announced a partnership with simulation expert Simufact with the aim of improving powder-based metal additive manufacturing through simulation and build preparation. Through the collaboration, the companies will integrate Renishaw’s QuantAM build preparation software into Simufact Additive 2020. They will also work to further refine the simulation…

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  • Photo of Honda uses AM and generative design to optimize crankshaft

    Japanese automaker Honda is hoping to reduce the impact of its vehicles on the environment using smart design and advanced manufacturing processes. Recently, for instance, the automaker’s R&D department teamed up with software company Autodesk to redesign and 3D print a crankshaft component to make it lighter and more fuel-efficient.…

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  • Photo of nTopology and ORNL sign CRADA to advance AM design for BAAM

    Software developer nTopology has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) with the aim of advancing AM capabilities through integrated software toolkits. Through the collaboration, nTopology will work with ORNL to embed the latter’s expertise into the nTop Platform with an eventual…

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  • Photo of Mississippi State University CAVS integrates Sigma Labs PrintRite3D software

    Sigma Labs, Inc., an expert in quality assurance software for additive manufacturing, announced it has been awarded a contract by Mississippi State University’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS). The center, a leading interdisciplinary research hub focused on driving innovation in U.S. mobility industries, will integrate Sigma’s PrintRite3D software with…

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