10 Best Features to Look for in an Additive Manufacturing Software

Vipika Kotangale | September 20, 2022 | 1770 views | Read time: 07:34 min
FEATURES OF ADDITIVE ARTICLE
The day is near when additive manufacturing (AM) will become production-ready, with many technological advancements in additive manufacturing software. Although taking care of manual post-processing is one of the challenges AM faces, methods to reduce it are on the rise with the help of better additive manufacturing software. Multilayer 3D printing revolutionises production, combining to fuel innovation. Let's find out what software features for additive manufacturing can help solve the problems that arise.
 

How Does Additive Manufacturing Software Aid in the Resolution of Issues in Large Enterprises?

For large enterprises, additive manufacturing software champions innovation to achieve long-term goals and resolve problems with these solutions.

Sustainability in Manufacturing:

A minimum wastage of material makes additive manufacturing sustainable. Therefore, achieve your goal of implementing sustainable practises quickly.
 

Decrease Costs:

Cut costs by automation, optimization, and simulation to help decrease costs at all stages of an AM workflow.


Optimize Inventory:

You can get rid of a lot of your inventory if you know exactly what material each part needs and how much of it you need.


Easy Material Replacement:

Simulate results for different materials and easily replace your material for printing as per availability. Combine multiple materials to strengthen parts and make them versatile.


Generate Multiple Design Versions:

The generative design approach allows you to generate multiple versions of a complex part subject to constraints. As a result, you reduce the guesswork and improve the quality quickly and efficiently. With AI designs in additive manufacturing software, you get progressive design innovation and development.

As AM software aids large enterprises to fuel innovation in design implementation and follow the recent trends in additive manufacturing, AM processes such as binder jetting, metal additive manufacturing work and other types of additive manufacturing benefit from them as well. Explore the benefits of additive manufacturing for small and medium enterprises in our next segment which will cover additive manufacturing overview. Learn in-depth insights into why AM software are becoming a choice of medium sized businesses as well.

Three Reasons to Use Additive Manufacturing Software

To realize the full potential of additive manufacturing, good software plays a vital role in determining the quality of the output printed. Find out exactly how software for additive manufacturing could help your designs and your business grow.


Automate:

Automated light weighting, part consolidation, and generative design help unlock the scalability of your designs in terms of functionality and cost efficiency. Additive manufacturing software helps you achieve these efficiently.


Optimize:

Streamline the AM workflow using additive MES (manufacturing execution system) software. Increasing the printing process's efficiency helps reduce the time needed to print and improves the quality of the part manufactured and the machine utilization rates.


Simulate and Test:

Make your part design model subject to different constraints with the help of simulation using AM software. Reach excellence in additive manufacturing parts for real-life situations. Build a failsafe part using automated mathematical analysis.

Using additive manufacturing software can help you overcome many challenges. However, while considering AM software, please note its shortcomings.


The Big Challenge in Additive Manufacturing Software

At each step of additive manufacturing, separate software is essential to perform different functions. AM software performs many critical functions, such as step-by-step design, printability checks, light weighting, adding support, and simulation analysis. However, a single software package does not exist that addresses all aspects of additive manufacturing. Software integration resolves this issue effectively and efficiently.


Additive Manufacturing Software Functions for Large Enterprises

For large enterprises, it is essential to get the accurate design of complex parts and manage the AM production workflow right. Additive manufacturing software brings both functions to the table. Learn how additive manufacturing fuels innovation in design. Features of Additive Manufacturing software for design and managing workflow are as under:

Top Features of Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) Software:

It is easy to nurture the design thinking process by arming with suitable DfAM software for medium and large enterprises. Their features are as follows:

Topology Optimization:

Using mathematical tools to simulate the material distribution of the part is topology optimization. Making changes in the material distribution can remove inefficient regions from the design. In addition, automated topology optimization helps quickly produce complex geometrical structures using DfAM software.

Lattice Pattern Generation:

Using additive manufacturing software, we generate 3D lattice patterns automatically. They significantly save costs by using a lower volume of materials and helping design multifunctional parts and structures. In addition, they reduce their weight and cost, making them flexible and stress-resistant.


Generative Design:

The power of generative design lies in designing to match all the design parameters, applying all constraints, and generating multiple design candidates quickly and efficiently. These include material type, shape, density, orientation, and more. This design evolves your part per your required parameters and expedites optimization.


Automatic Light-Weighting:

Applying light weighting techniques such as materials selection, part consolidation, conformal ribbing, lattice structures, and optimization of topology helps further bring down the costs. With DfAM software, the process is automatic and easy.


Automated Part Consolidation:

Creating a single part that can perform multiple functions saves space and costs, boosting efficiency. However, deciding whether consolidation can conform to other system components can sometimes be challenging. Find a way to solve this problem with the help of a feature in additive manufacturing software that automatically groups parts together.


Stress, Heat, and Impact Simulation:

Predict the part design's stress, heat, and impact-taking ability in the case of light weighting. Simulation helps test the part using different materials, keeping in mind their temperature, stress, and impact resistance. For instance, DfAM software tests a part before printing the prototype, utilizing this feature.


Build Failure Prediction:

Mathematical analysis-backed calculations of distortions and validations help in predicting building failures. A DfAM also helps predict building failures before they happen by calculating the efficiency over time. This makes the parts more durable.


3D Packing:

Find the ideal shipping container and calculate its size, number, and maximum capacity using 3D packing technology. This automated software tool helps you efficiently send your shipments to your clients.


Machine Parameters:

Select the process parameters as per the part or product requirements. Apply different constraints to simulate the work using additive manufacturing software. Adjust them as per the desired characteristics in the output part using the software.


Print Failure Prediction:

Analyzing a designed model for deformation, cracks, stress, and growth is possible with software simulation. In addition, this data helps detect probable print failure.

An end-to-end workflow automation solution using additive manufacturing MES software works in sync with your existing software. Learn about its features as below:


Features of Good Additive Manufacturing MES Software:


Order Management: Receiving, organizing, and processing orders for printing is excellent at order management.

Part/file Analysis: The main tasks of part or file analysis are to look at the part or file's feasibility under different constraints and suggest ways to fix it.

Production Planning: Production planning helps automate preparation for the production cycle.

Instant Quotations: With built-in quotation management, create, approve, present, accept or reject quotations and place an order for part printing.

Material and Inventory Management: It takes care of choosing the right material for the part and making sure that enough of that material is in stock to make it.

Nesting: With nesting calculations, automatic space optimization on the print bed is possible

Post-Processing Management: Remove defects after manufacturing using a streamlined post-processing management system.

Quality Inspection and Management: Use the Quality Management System to remove possible distortions and deformations under constraints.

Order Tracking and Traceability: Get the status of print order processing at all times with accurate tracking during the AM process.

Analytics: Get a complete analysis of the data generated at each step of your AM workflow.
 
If getting powerful software is not something you are considering at the moment, you can still welcome a host of new additions with the help of software integrations. Explore more about it down below.


Use Software Integrations to Connect Existing Software:

Link your existing software to your additive manufacturing software for seamless data sharing over the additive MES using software integration. For instance, connect existing AM workflows, 3D modelling simulations, import CAD files of models, send and receive purchase orders, and do much more with a one-stop MES solution. With the right integrations, you can add the features your software needs to stay current.

When considering purchasing an AM software package, the initial, operational, training, and time required to learn it must all be calculated. For large enterprises, the reduction in inventory size and better accuracy with AM software bring down the cost of additive manufacturing production. Let us take a deep dive into the estimation of AM software.

Estimation for Additive Manufacturing Software Setup and Operations:

Depending upon the feature set of the additive manufacturing software, it might cost from $120/month/user to $25,000 annually or more. The significant influence is the implementation time and user-friendliness, like any other software for your business or enterprise. Several additive manufacturing and management software might have features that you may not need right now. However, upon scaling your business, they will become a necessity. You may want to consider software with supporting API integrations to smoothly transition from your existing software to advanced additive manufacturing software. As a result, you will reduce your cost of training the personnel while boosting their efficiency manifold.

Additive Manufacturing Software's Future Scope

Custom printing of complex geometrical structures with additive manufacturing is no longer restricted just to rapid prototyping. With the advent of volumetric additive manufacturing, it is now possible to print all the target points in the geometry simultaneously. Achieve this with the help of rotating the resin container with the guidance of a digital light projection system. In addition, this method can reduce some of the post-processing involved in an additive manufacturing production workflow to help make additive manufacturing more reliable and efficient.

The future of additive manufacturing looks supremely promising with several applications of volumetric additive manufacturing. These include aerospace, medical, transportation, energy, consumer products and the like. In the future, revolutionary multifunctional parts will be created using automated part consolidation to optimize part designs like never before. Furthermore, using AI, accuracy is bound to improve.

Conclusion:

Building a resilient business for medium and large enterprises to unlock scalability is easy with a range of additive manufacturing software. Leveraging AM software saves turn-around time from researching to the production line with a stable and better design. It boosts ROI by streamlining your additive manufacturing workflows and cutting production costs using additive manufacturing software. Software integrations help enterprises stay current with all the features needed and introduced from time to time to make additive manufacturing practical. Using AI with AM software is becoming the norm for both medium and large AM companies that want to get a head start on the market.

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HD Supply Construction & Industrial is the nation’s leading distributor of specialty hardware, tools and materials for large and medium-sized contractors. Our extensive inventory, combined with will call, site delivery and direct ship options, enables us to deliver the products customers need when and where they need them.

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3D Systems & ALM Announce Partnership to Accelerate Materials Adoption, Drive Additive Manufacturing Industry Growth

3D Systems | November 11, 2022

Today, 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) and ALM announced they have entered into a partnership to expand access to industry-leading 3D printing materials. ALM will add 3D Systems’ DuraForm® PAx material to its portfolio, providing its customers access to a unique copolymer specifically designed for use with available Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technologies. As a result, ALM’s customers will have access to an expanded materials portfolio enabling them to choose the best material for their application. This partnership is the first step between 3D Systems and ALM to address the material needs of customers who may use SLS technologies from a variety of equipment manufacturers for their application needs. “We’re excited to announce this collaboration with ALM, not only to expand access to this game-changing copolymer but to also show what’s possible when two industry leaders work towards a shared goal, By joining together, 3D Systems and ALM are not only helping manufacturers innovate more rapidly, but we’re also able to redirect our innovation pipelines to create more first-to-market materials. I believe this in turn will also foster future 3D printing technology innovations thus creating additional options for manufacturers to procure the optimal solution for their application.” -Dr. David Leigh, EVP and chief technology officer for additive manufacturing, 3D Systems. 3D Systems unveiled its open materials strategy earlier this year with the announcement of DuraForm PAx. This material can be used to manufacture tough, lightweight, production-grade parts for applications such as orthotics, tooling handles, splints, and braces, ducting in rugged environments, living hinges, liquid reservoirs, and enclosures requiring high impact and high toughness. DuraForm PAx possesses properties similar to injection molded plastics and features high impact resistance with high elongation at break in any direction. “We have long pursued a strategy of using our engineering expertise in formulating and producing high quality powders for Additive Manufacturing, providing the broadest portfolio of SLS materials on the market for all OEMs, Now, our collaboration with 3D Systems expands the market’s material options opening up new applications and opportunities for AM industry.” -Donnie Vanelli, president at ALM. About 3D Systems: More than 35 years ago, 3D Systems brought the innovation of 3D printing to the manufacturing industry. Today, as the leading additive manufacturing solutions partner, we bring innovation, performance, and reliability to every interaction - empowering our customers to create products and business models never before possible. Thanks to our unique offering of hardware, software, materials, and services, each application-specific solution is powered by the expertise of our application engineers who collaborate with customers to transform how they deliver their products and services. 3D Systems’ solutions address a variety of advanced applications in healthcare and industrial markets such as medical and dental, aerospace & defense, automotive, and durable goods. About ALM: Advanced Laser Materials (ALM) specializes in material research, development and consultation for industrial 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Founded in 2004, ALM remains focused on providing customers with application-specific, quality-tested materials and engineering support to meet the most complex product specifications and production requirements. ALM offers the largest selection of laser sintering solutions with onsite capabilities to produce standard and specialized materials in varying quantities.

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