As 3D printing evolves around the world, it’s somehow very satisfying to see companies from other countries working together, especially when a variety of products are able to perform to their full potential when synchronized and powered by one another’s innovations and technologies. Both Materialise and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), currently collaborating, are international companies that serve on the forefront of technology in their own countries, in 3D software and hardware, respectively.
We’ve been following ITRI since they emerged with Taiwan’s first 3D metal printer last year, targeting both manufacturers and jewelry makers for use of the high-powered AM100/AM250. Materialise has, of course, been involved in countless 3D printing projects around the world from most recently seeing through a project that required 3D printed trilobite fossils to opening a 3D Printing Center of Excellence overseas. Now, the two are working together as ITRI continues to progress not only with metal 3D printing but also in a quest to bring their Factory of the Future concept to fruition. They will be counting on Materialise’s Magics 3D software to work with their hardware as they continue in their further R&D of metal additive manufacturing technologies.
Known as a leader not just in 3D printing solutions, but also for their AM software, Materialise stood out to ITRI as they looked for the perfect fit in collaboration. Materialise, with more than 25 years of experience in 3D technology, is certainly very well known for their involvement in the medical field as well as the industrial markets, and here, their years of expertise in creating 3D software will help ITRI forge ahead in their commitment to applied research and technical services—a journey that has been ongoing for more than 40 years.
“In order to introduce the complete AM workflow to the industry ITRI has developed its own industry-grade metal 3D printing machines, combining their specific process technologies with the Materialise AM software backbone,” stated Materialise in a recent press release.
This is indeed a power match in the industry, and certainly within Taiwan, where 3D printing in metal is just gearing up. As the Materialise team points out, it’s most important when entering this area of technology to have a system able to capture information regarding the process, machine, materials, and sample data. For research and development purposes, users must be able to expect efficiency in performing tasks like linking a range of test data and learning more about choices, as well as revealing ‘bottleneck’ issues comprehensively, and right away.
With the automation and control offered by Materialise Streamics, another tool is available for focusing on management of additive manufacturing, offering a streamlined method for finding ease in process stabilization and scaling. The opportunity for human error is decreased with features like automatic part labeling, as well, again improving on productivity and efficiency, and allowing for better workflow—especially in large production runs.
Machines are monitored, with all important build data retained in a central area, allowing for the user to trace any pertinent details, as well as ensuring quality each time. The Build Processor increases process flow, optimizes all scanning, and allows for direct communications between Streamics and the 3D printer.
“This is a central printing management system that provides a simplified workflow for the user; with the possibility to create and assign machine-specific build styles to the parts and platform, as well as slicing and exporting the data to the machine,” states Materialise.
The slicing technology allows for the file size of a complex design to be reduced—when previously it may not have been able to go to the printer at all without such sophisticated parameters.
If you are interested in learning more about 3D printing or additive manufacturing in metal, you may want to check out a recent paper from Materialise titled ‘Unlock the full potential of AM.’ In requesting the free download, you will learn more about mastering production and quantities, how to achieve repeatable quality, and how to ‘align AM capabilities’ with your own business environment. Find out more about Streamics here, and if you are curious about Materialise Build Processor software, find out more here. Discuss further over in the ITRI & Materialise 3D Printing forum at 3DPB.com.