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.

  • PostProcess has partnered with Laser Prototypes Europe (LPE) to implement automated post-printing for the company’s large customer base across the UK and Ireland. Established in 1991, LPE is the UK’s longest established prototyping bureau and has continually made a point to invest in cutting-edge technologies and materials, ensuring customers have…

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  • In order to make its 3D printing systems smarter and more productive TRUMPF recently took the opportunity of the Formnext trade fair in Frankfurt to present a series of new software, sensor (including melt pool monitoring and gas flow) and automation solutions designed to improve the efficiency of 3D printing.…

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  • Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division looks to build a flexible and open additive manufacturing (AM) ecosystem to help overcome complexities in 3D printing processes and support customers in effectively building their product development and manufacturing workflows. With several new additions to the ecosystem announced this week, with Sciaky, Meltio, CADS Additive,…

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  • Dyndrite

    Dyndrite, providers of the core accelerated computation engine used to create next generation digital manufacturing hardware and software, and, a leading additive manufacturing software company, will showcase an integrated Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) that brings materials and process traceability to serial production using additive manufacturing. will be on hand…

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  • nTopology $65M series D

    Generative design software developer nTopology has secured a significant investment worth $65 million through a Series D funding round led by Tiger Global. The money brings the company’s total financing to $135 million and will enable nTopology to further expand the scope of its applications and expand its global presence.…

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  • Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence

    Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, a division of the global IT company specialized in simulation solutions, has entered into a number of collaborations with metal additive manufacturing companies, including Sciaky, pro-beam, DM3D, Gefertec and Meltio. The collaborations target the advancement of Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technologies for industrial applications. DED is an…

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  • Carbon Design Engine

    3D printing company Carbon has previewed a new version of its Carbon Design Engine software, to be released early 2022. The new version, available in Standard, Pro and Enterprise editions, will be available to everyone — not just Carbon printer users. This means customers will be able to create multi-zone…

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  • The 3MF Consortium, the organization dedicated to advancing the universal 3MF specification for 3D printing, introduced a new Volumetric Design extension, which addresses the design of an object’s form and enables designers to add new types of elements to their designs. Manufacturers can also benefit by prototyping faster and saving…

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  • Sciaky Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence

    Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division has entered a partnership with Sciaky, Inc, a leading supplier of industrial metal 3D printing solutions and a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries, Inc. (PSI), to enhance its innovative EBAM technology with Simufact predictive analysis and simulation tools Sciaky’s turnkey EBAM metal 3D printers use high-value…

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  • Materialise Link3D Acquisition

    Belgian 3D printing company Materialise is expanding its business with the acquisition of Link3D Inc., a New York-based company specializing in SaaS AM workflow software. The acquisition, which is set to be finalized by the end of 2021, will see Materialise acquire 100% of Link3D’s equity interests for for $33.5…

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