siemensWhile Siemens may not be a company you immediately associate with 3D printing—yet—they’ve been making their move into the industry in some very interesting ways, from their partnership with Local Motors in the development of 3D printed cars to their work in creating new methods in additive manufacturing. With the use of their product lifecycle management (PLM) business approach, they have quickly become part of the 3D printing landscape, and now they’ve announced a new and thorough development process, to be released in January 2017, that will fall in line with the current revolution in manufacturing.

This new development from Siemens, meant to help other companies make the most of AM practices, is made up of:

  • Integrated design
  • Simulation
  • Digital manufacturing
  • Data and process management software

siemens-powder-bed-fusionIt also includes Siemens’ NX software, an integrated computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering (CAD/CAM/CAE) software, the Simcenter portfolio, a suite of simulation software and test solutions, Teamcenter software, a digital lifecycle management system, and SIMATIC IT Unified Architecture Discrete Manufacturing and SIMATIC WinCC, two elements of Siemens’ Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) portfolio for production execution and manufacturing automation.

nxsThe company will be rolling out two new technologies in this development that enable automated generative design: convergent modeling and topology optimization.

Convergent modeling is something completely new, and is included in the latest NX release. Meant for engineers, it allows them to create the best 3D printed components possible along with greater speed in production, and more—to include better ease and efficiency in reverse engineering with scan to print functionality. With topology optimization, engineers have access to predictive analytics which allow for better design evaluation as well as automation in the processes for design and optimization which include performance areas such as vibration, fluid dynamics, and heat transfer.

Also new from Siemens within this development release is a 3D printing prep solution that can be used with both metal and plastic parts, with those operating the machines being able to look forward to assistance in the areas of powder bed and multi-jet fusion part preparation. And looking toward the company’s interest in 3D printed metal, NX provides 3D model preparation for both laser metal deposition and NC programming, to include simulation programs for hybrid AM tools.

siemens-generative-design

Siemens’ generative design and simulation technology: the part on the left is designed for conventional machining; the part on the right has been optimized for 3D printing with reduced mass and equal strength

“Siemens PLM Software is pushing the additive manufacturing envelope by developing solutions to help create functionally optimized geometry that is inconceivable based on conventional design and manufacturing methods,” said Dr. Ken Versprille, Executive Consultant, CIMdata. “Previously unsolvable design and manufacturing challenges are now quite feasible with these new software and production technologies. Siemens PLM Software has a vision for how the technology fits together from end-to-end and is putting that vision in place to move the industry forward.”

siemens-topology

Topology optimization

Siemens reports that they have also developed—and are testing—a multi-axis robotic fused deposition modeling (FDM) programming technology. This will be used for 3D printed extruded materials like plastic and carbon-reinforced nylon. The NX system also programs the removal of supports and precision surface machining, as well as other operations relevant to both processing and inspections.

The comprehensive new systems will also use smart product models without requiring conversion or translation between processes, and automate generative design through topology optimization capabilities. With companies being able to look toward optimal performance but with a better bottom line, this new development via Siemens should offer great potential in applications such as automotive, aerospace, and that of medical device manufacturing too.

 “This is just the beginning of a new generation of manufacturing capabilities, and Siemens is focused on delivering software technology to support an optimized end-to-end process with tools such as Convergent Modeling, topology optimization and 3D print preparation that are developed specifically to industrialize additive manufacturing,” said Tony Hemmelgarn, president and CEO, Siemens PLM Software.

Discuss in the Siemens forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source/Images: Siemens]
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