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.

  • Hexagon and Stratasys lightweight PEKK materials with simulation

    Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division and Stratasys have applied Hexagon’s simulation technology to capture the behavior of Stratasys’ high-performance, ultra-lightweight Antero-reinforced polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) materials and its additive manufacturing processes. These rigorously-validated simulations offer Stratasys customers unique insight – enabling them to lightweight components and introduce new sustainable aircraft and spacecraft, faster.…

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  • Autodesk Fusion 360 enters partnership with EOS

    Autodesk Fusion 360 has entered into a new partnership with EOS, with the aim of taking additive manufacturing capabilities ‘to the next level’, according to an article written by Pooria Sohi, Product Marketing Manager at Autodesk. EOS metal and polymer machines are already available in the Fusion 360 Machine Library,…

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  • Meteor Inkjet collaborates with CoreTechnologie. Ensuring the close integration of their respective software environments.

    Meteor Inkjet collaborates with CoreTechnologie

    Meteor Inkjet Ltd, a leading supplier of electronics, software, tools, and services for industrial inkjet, known for its technical expertise and innovation, and is trusted by printhead manufacturers and print system builders, is collaborating with CoreTechnologie GmbH, a global provider of 3D CAD data conversion software for additive manufacturing. Effective…

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  • Raise3D launches Open Software Program (OSP). Following the same philosophy as the company's Open Filament Program (OFP).

    Raise3D launches Open Software Program (OSP)

    Raise3D, a global provider of additive manufacturing solutions for SMEs and LSEs, and inventor of Hyper FFF, has launched the company’s Open Software Program (OSP), a program aimed at facilitating the cooperation of software companies within the Raise3D ecosystem. In November 2017, Raise3D launched its Open Filament Program (OFP), a…

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  • TOffeeAM secures £5 million in venture capital investment, to further apply AI to the design of greener and cleaner engines.

    TOffeeAM secures £5 million in venture capital investment

    According to Imperial College London, one of their startups, TOffeeAM, has secured £5 million in international venture capital investment, which will support the company’s further development in applying AI to the design of greener and cleaner engines, and other machines. TOffeeAM’s clients already include names such as Boeing and Rolls-Royce, along…

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  • Meltio releases two new wire-laser metal 3D printing solutions. The Meltio Horizon software and Laser Calibration System.

    Meltio releases two new wire-laser metal 3D printing solutions

    Meltio, a multinational Spanish laser metal deposition technology manufacturer, has presented two new innovations that will increase the reliability of metal part additive manufacturing – the Meltio Horizon software, and the Laser Calibration System. Both technological solutions, developed by Meltio’s engineering team, represent a further step in the company’s strategy…

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  • Duann Scott appointed as Executive Director of 3MF Consortium. Supersedeing Luis Baldez, who has served as Executive Director since 2020.

    Duann Scott appointed as Executive Director of 3MF Consortium

    The 3MF Consortium, an organization dedicated to advancing a universal specification for 3D printing, has appointed Duann Scott as its new Executive Director. Duann Scott supersedes Luis Baldez, who has served as Executive Director since 2020. Upon his appointment, Luis Baldez spearheaded the evolution of 3MF from development to adoption.…

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  • Michael Hansmeyer brings form to life using generative design and 3D printing technology to create his 'Digital Grotesque' series.

    Michael Hansmeyer brings previously impossible form to life

    Given the previously-closed doors that the development of 3D printing technologies have now opened, it is no surprise that this technology is as appealing to artists and designers, as it is to big businesses and industry. Although the latter tend to have more access, for obvious reasons. However, artworks such…

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  • Handddle and Markforged partner on process monitoring

    Handddle, a developer of additive manufacturing smart production cells, and Markforged (NYSE: MKFG), a leading 3D printing hardware OEM, are partnering to integrate The Markforged Digital Forge with Handddle’s micro-factories platform and other production process management tools via an application program interface (API). Micro-factories are key to producing quality products…

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  • Nick Dinges appointed as CTO of Replique. He will focus on driving further expansion of the network of service bureaus.

    Nick Dinges appointed as CTO of Replique

    Replique, the provider of a secure 3D printing platform that makes part management more efficient and sustainable for OEMs, has appointed Nick Dinges as the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). As the new CTO, Nick Dinges will be responsible for developing Replique’s technology platform which enables OEMs to provide parts,…

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