As important as 3D printing hardware is to the success or failure of your additive manufacturing endeavors, software plays an equally critical role in the manufacturing ecosystem. Usually, hardware and software are coupled together to help streamline and standardize end-to-end process control. Few 3D printing companies have developed an all-encompassing 3D printing software package quite like the Belgium-based Materialise. Their constantly expanding Magics 3D Print Suite has kept their customers on the forefront of 3D printing innovation, from updated laser sintering features to better access to 3D architectural models.
After recently introducing their newest software suite to testers from Materialise’s Beta Validation Program, the 3D printing solutions provider headed to the formnext 2016 exhibition in Messe Frankfurt this week to launch their latest products. At the event, which is taking place from now until November 18, Materialise will launch the enhanced version of their design optimization software 3-matic11, as well as a fresh version of Magics21, Materialise’s signature data preparation software. On both platforms, Materialise has upgraded the usability of their software by reducing click counts for key actions and automating calculation processes that oftentimes hold up the production process.
On top of that, Materialise has also unveiled Inspector, an innovative tool designed to help users capitalize on the benefits of 3D printing technology without sacrificing quality control and part standardization. Inspector will enable users to identify issues in the build strategy by simulating the process with energy density mapping. In addition, the new tool will help monitor the build process with real-time feedback data and automated image layering, allowing users to see inside the part, as well as perform post-processing and root cause analysis, which can remove the need for costly trial-and-error testing.
“Control and consistency are concepts firmly entrenched in, and vital to, traditional manufacturing but not widely associated with Additive Manufacturing,” said Tim Van den Bogaert, Materialise Director New Businesses. “Unlike subtractive processes where materials are manipulated without changing their intrinsic properties, AM involves achieving precision powder and energy ratios – ratios that dictate how the material and final part will perform. Without the ability to predict, inspect and understand that process, AM will never make the step beyond prototyping, towards mainstream manufacturing.”
In their Magics21 update, Materialise improved defect fixing and previous state saving to enable quicker undo functionality, and also introduced new guidance tools, including an orientation optimizer and comparator. To satisfy the growing adoption of multi-laser 3D printers, the enhanced software also includes a slice distribution graph to optimize part configuration, allowing users to reduce print times while simultaneously improving control quality. Magics 21 will also offer ‘fit-to-platform’ functionality, which will automate the rescaling of parts, and will be capable of calculating optimal part rotation to improve production efficiency and simplify the process of price quoting.
When we spoke to Motte at formnext 2016, he explained the importance of eliminating scrap rates and working towards a more cost-effective 3D printing ecosystem. As 3D printing technology shifts from a niche technology to a standard in production, Materialise is aiming to deliver parts that meet the required standards. A major part of satisfying this ultimate goal rests in their enhanced Materialise Magics 3D Print Suite. With a strong software backbone that promotes consistency and reliability, the Belgium-based company is taking the capabilities of 3D printing technology to new heights. Discuss in the Magics forum at 3DPB.com.
“Our approach has always been to keep evolving our open software suite and hardware solutions in partnership with industry, to meet current needs and drive Additive Manufacturing forward. Right now that means making AM compatible with a world where meeting quality standards, certifications and precise specifications with consistency, is the norm. These latest developments reflect this ambition,” said Stefaan Motte, Vice President of Materialise’s Software Unit.