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.

Overall design considerations for 3D printing

Designing for additive manufacturing (DfAM) can seem daunting. Often, the phrase DfAM is juxtaposed with images of complex lattice structures…

2 weeks ago

Wematter’s Gravity SLS 3D printer gets Deep Space 2.0 software update

Wematter’s office-friendly Gravity SLS printer just got a new software upgrade, with Deep Space 2.0. This increases productivity in a…

3 weeks ago

Viaccess-Orca joins 3MF Consortium contributing digital asset security

The 3MF Consortium released the 3D Manufacturing Format (3MF) Secure Content specification, addressing the payload protection and production control requirements…

3 weeks ago

nTopology signs MoU with Yamaichi to bring nTop software to Japan

nTopology and Japan's Yamaichi Special Steel (YSS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to discuss and define the partnership to…

4 weeks ago

Autodesk releases Netfabb 2021.0

Autodesk has just released Netfabb 2021.0. The new version of the popular CAE/CAM software for additive manufacturing carries many new…

4 weeks ago

Tesla shows massive generatively designed part in Model Y underbody

With a record market cap, Tesla is among the automakers that are best positioned to get through the COVID-19 crisis.…

1 month ago

Sigma Labs obtains two U.S. patents for PrintRite3D software

AM quality assurance software developer Sigma Labs has been granted two U.S. patents for its PrintRite3D software platform. The recently…

2 months ago

GrabCAD Print supports 3MF file imports for colors and textures

Stratasys' GrabCAD Print software is now able to import 3D printable 3MF files. This could be quite significant news for…

2 months ago

Lithoz unveils new CeraVision tool and CeraDoc software

Ceramics 3D printer firm Lithoz today released its new CeraVision tool and set of features to real-time monitor and control…

3 months ago

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…

3 months ago