Lately, we’ve been paying a lot of attention to Sigma Labs, developer of non-destructive quality inspection systems for advanced manufacturing technologies, including metal 3D printing. Last month we chatted with Murray Williams, the company’s newly appointed CFO, who shared with us his vision for Sigma Labs’ continuing influence on the metal additive manufacturing industry. A lot of that influence rests with the company’s PrintRite3D process control and quality assurance software, which was introduced in 2010 and has continued to grow into a comprehensive ecosystem that enables manufacturers to monitor and assess product quality during the manufacturing process.
Sigma Labs has announced that they are releasing an updated version of their PrintRite3D INSPECT software, which allows users to inspect the metallurgical properties of parts while they’re being manufactured. Version 1.3.2 was developed using feedback from participants in the company’s Early Adopter Program, an initiative introduced last year that allows qualified customers to evaluate and test Sigma Labs’ software on a trial level.
“Our Early Adopter customers are vital to our success and their feedback has played an important role in shaping the human-machine interface or usability of the software, yet they have helped improve the robustness of our analysis software by providing much-needed use cases,” Sigma Labs CEO Mark Cola told 3DPrint.com.
The user feedback, in this case, resulted in several changes and additions, including new alloy-specific temperature correction algorithms, improved reporting, and enhanced graphics – on both a layer-by-layer and part-by-part level. The web-based software was designed to be part of the cloud, the “Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)” that has been rapidly growing within the manufacturing industry. According to Cola, the software is able to gather and analyze “Big Data” from both in-process and post-process results.
“Sigma Labs’ PrintRite3D® INSPECT™ software is an enabling technology that bridges the gap that exists between 3D printing (or prototyping) today and additive manufacturing (or mass production) tomorrow,” he told us. “With our INSPECT software included as a key tactical element of an overall quality assurance strategy for any manufacturer or industry segment, our customers can begin to provide the much-needed objective evidence of compliance to their design intent and ultimately assure quality across their supplier base. These are not only important but also necessary ingredients in enabling and furthering the growth of 3DP and AM.
“The importance of the newest version of our INSPECT™ software will be best appreciated when our customers begin to link our in-process software results from our layer-by-layer and part-by-part analysis with their post-process nondestructive or destructive inspection results. This powerful approach will ultimately lead adopters of 3DP to achieve a more rapid and streamlined approach to their process qualification and ultimately their part certification methodology.”
The software is especially geared towards companies who are trying to incorporate 3D printing into their manufacturing processes, possibly for the first time. One of Sigma Labs’ prime goals is to help speed and simplify the process for their client companies, thus speeding the expansion of additive manufacturing across the manufacturing industry. But whether a company is new to or experienced with 3D printing, INSPECT should save them a lot of time, money and material by optimizing production and catching problems at the early stages.
A few features of INSPECT include:
- Position-related anomaly detection
- Production report with actionable results and root cause troubleshooting
- Real time acquisition and visualization: HMI module
- Data analysis engine: multi-variate statistical based algorithms
In addition to supplying the software, Sigma Labs also works with their customers to help them manage their data and make sure they get the most out of their products and services.
“Sigma Labs provides its AM contract manufacturing services to customers in the form of Quality as a Service (QaaS),” Cola told 3DPrint.com. “Starting with our PrintRite3D® cloud-based SaaS model, customers will contract with us to generate and establish a digital quality record (DQR) for AM-built parts. Each DQR is cloud-based and allows for archiving and storage of quality data, access to our big data ANALYTICS™ software App for continuous quality monitoring and improvement, and automatic industry benchmarking while maintaining firewalls between company-specific data.”