With so many companies producing so many varieties of additive manufacturing equipment, it can sometimes be difficult to avoid disconnect between hardware and software systems. Belgian company Materialise has made it a goal to simplify things with its customizable Build Processor software, which is billed as bridging the gap between 3D software and a wide range of 3D printers. The software system has led to multiple partnerships with 3D printer manufacturers, and Materialise announced today that it has formed another partnership, this time with Netherlands-based Additive Industries.
The young Additive Industries, which specializes in metal additive manufacturing for industrial applications, will soon be launching its integrative metal additive manufacturing system, the MetalFAB1–which we’ve been keeping an eye on here for some time now. The system is set to premier at FormNext, the international exposition and conference focusing on additive technologies and tool making. This year’s expo will be held in Frankfurt, Germany from November 17-20.
The industrial-grade MetalFAB1 promises to “redefine the metal 3D printing industry.” Features include:
- Automated build plate handling
- In-line heat treatment
- Controlled recoating
- Laser based powder bed fusion
- Multiple lasers
Additive Industries, which has been around since 2012, focuses on a number of industries including aerospace, automotive, medical, and high-tech equipment. The MetalFAB1 incorporates multiple process steps into one machine, resulting in an integrated process flow. Increased operator safety, reduced manual labor, and improved product consistency and quality are additional results from the machine’s fully automated handling system. The modular architectural design allows for multiple materials to be used in the same machine, without the risk of cross-contamination or the necessity of cleaning the machine’s powder system. The user is given a great deal of flexibility and control, with the option to start with a basic machine configuration and enlarge the scope of the process as needed.
“Our system will bring a substantial improvement in reproducibility, productivity and flexibility as a result of our quest to design an industrial grade metal printing process,” said Daan Kersten, CEO of Additive Industries.
The partnership with Materialise will result in a new version of the Build Processor software, customized for the MetalFAB1. The software is designed to be user-friendly and to simplify the 3D printing process, facilitating smooth communication of data to the machine and allowing users to have a clear overview of their print jobs. The software also includes a slicing algorithm to help users handle large design files.
The agreement with Additive Industries is the most recent in a series of similar partnerships for Materialise. The company has already created customized versions of its Build Processor software for companies including SLM Solutions, Arcam, EOS, and Renishaw. Until a more standardized machine communication system is being universally manufactured, Materialise says, it will continue to offer versions of Build Processor that will perfectly match the hardware on offer from manufacturers.
Discuss this latest partnership here.