In June 2019, global sciences company Royal DSM launched the I AM Tomorrow Challenge, a collaborative effort aimed at addressing and filling gaps in the AM value chain. At the time, DSM and its partners Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence and Ultimaker invited startups from around the world to apply for an accelerator program. Six startups, selected from a pool of 74, have recently teamed up to co-develop a digital additive manufacturing workflow.
The six startups that have been working with Royal DSM on the I AM Tomorrow Challenge are Authentise, nTopology, Additive Flow, Ecochain, iPoint and Neural Concept. For the past three months, the companies have been working together to develop a digital AM platform that effectively translates customer needs into AM solutions. The platform was presented at Formnext 2019, and the challenge will be ongoing as DSM seeks to introduce the digital workflow to drive AM adoption.
As part of the phase for the new digital platform, Royal DSM is looking for manufacturing partners from various sectors willing to provide feedback to fine tune the platform. Ultimately, the goal is to combine application, material and processing knowledge in the platform to offer manufacturers the most accurate and valuable information about performance, sustainability and economic viability of additive manufacturing for their specific applications.
“At DSM, we want to remove common barriers to the adoption of 3D printing,” said Hugo da Silva, VP Additive Manufacturing DSM. “A digital platform, capable of giving manufacturers a detailed and personalized 3D printing workflow, will remove a lot of the complexity that has crept into the industry in recent years. By supporting promising start-ups and working closely together with them and our partners, we are strengthening our 3D printing ecosystem and accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing across the globe.”
The digital workflow platform addresses several aspects of the additive process, including materials, topology optimization, 3D printing performance and process simulation. Each element of the platform is informed by the expertise of one of the selected startups, as well as the in depth AM knowledge of DSM, Ultimaker and Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.
“The I AM Tomorrow challenge is the ninth start-up challenge from DSM, and we have experience nurturing and challenging start-up companies to grow,” said Pieter Wolters, Managing Director DSM Venturing. “Through the accelerator program, we get to know the capabilities of the candidates and how they work with other eco-system players, while the start-ups get to know DSM. The accelerator program is a proof of concept for future collaboration, leading to a faster decision process for potential investments and partnerships.”
At this stage, DSM is preparing to expand the digital platform to industry partners for further refinement and validation. Down the line, the company plans to offer a commercial version of the digital platform for AM.