Brad Kuvin Brad Kuvin
Editorial Director

Spring Welcomes Two Critical AM Events

April 1, 2022


Tuan TranPham, chief revenue officer of Azul 3D, commenting recently on additive-manufacturing (AM) trends for 3DPrintingMedia, identified automation and smart technologies as key drivers of AM. As such, he calls vision and in-situ monitoring the “eyes” of AM systems, and machine learning (ML) the “brains.”

For AM, ML encompasses optimization of build-process parameters—laser power, layer thickness, etc.—based on data gathered in real time, as well as detection of anomalies in builds and their categorization based on severity and threat to build quality. Much of this data comes from the eyes of the systems, including use of in-situ monitoring. 

Note: One also could argue that the “ears” of AM systems is acoustic-emission monitoring (Renishaw’s InfiniAM Sonic package, for example).

All of this and more will share the spotlight this spring during the AM industry’s most important North American events: the AMUG Conference, in Chicago in April, and the RAPID+TCT tradeshow, in Detroit in May.

While ML seems destined to impact the metal-AM industry sooner rather than later, I’d also consider automated process programming within CAM software as the brains of an AM system. This particularly appears true in the case of directed-energy-deposition (DED) processes, the subject of an article in the digital online-online winter issue of 3D Metal Printing. DED, the article notes, is rapidly expanding its footprint throughout the manufacturing landscape. A key enabler to this rapid increase in the use of DED processes: automated process programming.

“Using automated process programming in the CAM software,” says Open Mind Technologies’ engineer Brad Rooks, “we can take a known process and use it to program subsequent parts. We also can capture and color-map the surfaces that the user is depositing onto, and automatically apply the correct DED tool paths so that there’s less intervention from the CAM programmer.”

When 3D Metal Printing senior editor Lou Kren braved the pandemic to trek to Formnext late last year—ostensibly to be the eyes and ears of our readers—certainly AM-process automation and software were top-of-mind technologies, and in his report, also appearing in our online winter issue, you’ll learn more. Amongst the glitz and glam of new metal-AM machines, Kren spied plenty of new software, including ML technology. Case in point, as noted in his article: Version 17 of 3D Systems’ 3DXpert software, with new features to accelerate part design and streamline the design-to-print process by automating workflow and adopting ML technology.

Also new on the software front is Hexagon’s latest version of its Simufact Additive metal-AM build-simulation software that, through a partnership with Cads Additive, now includes support-structure technology.

We’re proud to have made it to Formnext, to be your eyes and ears tuned into all that’s new in the metal-AM world. And we’ll do so again by attending AMUG and RAPID + TCT. Hope to see you there!

 

See also: Open Mind Software Technologies, Inc., 3D Systems, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence

Technologies: Management

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