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.

  • Protolabs Wohlers DfAM course

    Minnesota-based digital manufacturing company Protolabs is partnering with additive manufacturing consultants from Wohlers Associates to bring the industry an immersive course focused on design for additive manufacturing (DfAM). The exclusive event is aimed at accelerating DfAM by helping engineers and designers develop practical methods and strategies for exploiting 3D printing…

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  • Astroprint Stanley Black & Decker

    AstroPrint has announced a partnership with Stanley Black & Decker to connect, control and optimize their fleet of 3D printers across multiple facilities. With AstroPrint’s Enterprise Cloud, Stanley Black & Decker will effortlessly automate their additive manufacturing systems and workflows on a single platform, ensuring that resources are properly shared and…

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  • Authentise, a company emerging as a leader in data-driven third-party workflow tools for additive manufacturing, released a new mobile web application for its users. The new Authentise App extends its digital thread from the printers, which have already been largely integrated into its MES, to every post-processing step. QR-based steps…

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  • Sigma Labs member Manufacturing Technology Centre

    Sigma Labs, Inc., known for its PrintRite3D quality assurance software, has become a member of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, England. As a part of the MTC, Sigma Labs will provide expertise and quality assurance solutions for a range of manufacturing projects and will collaborate with other members…

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  • AMFG Germany workflow software

    AMFG, a UK-based developer of workflow software for additive manufacturing, has announced the opening of a new international office in Munich, Germany. The new location marks the company’s first office in Germany and signals its intentions to continue its global growth. The company, which now has its headquarters in London,…

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  • ultimaker cloud

    Ultimaker, an expert in desktop 3D printing, announced the launch of Ultimaker Cloud. Ultimaker Cloud is a future-ready platform that supports the professional 3D printing workflow. The first cloud services that are offered are remote 3D printing, unlimited access to the Marketplace, Marketplace ratings, and the possibility to backup user settings…

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  • Aether Procter & Gamble 3D printer

    AI 3D bioprinting company Aether has signed a two-year agreement with consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble to develop state-of-the-art 3D printing and AI technologies. The collaboration will use Aether’s existing 3D bioprinting platform—the Aether 1—to develop additional hardware and software capabilities to improve P&G’s product research workflow. San Francisco-based…

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  • VELO3D Flow software

    3D printer manufacturer VELO3D has announced a series of upgrades to its print preparation software Flow, enhancing the platform’s capabilities and enabling SupportFree metal additive manufacturing, predictable part outcomes and more. VELO3D’s Flow software platform is specifically designed to accompany the company’s Sapphire 3D printer, a laser fusion metal AM…

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  • Francis Bitonti GENESYS interview

    New York-based design firm Studio Bitonti has become known in the additive manufacturing industry for its boundary-pushing designs that emphasize innovation, aesthetics and function—often in relation to the human body. The studio’s founder, Francis Bitonti even designed some of the most notable 3D printed fashion pieces over the years—including Dita…

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  • Stratasys GrabCAD update FDM

    Stratasys is aiming to simplify the design-to-3D print process for designers and engineers by eliminating the CAD-to-STL conversion roadblock in its GrabCAD Print software platform. The 3D printing giant says the software’s new Advanced FDM feature will enable users to streamline design-to-print workflows, while simultaneously improving production times and material…

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