One of the things we can expect from big tech shows like CES 2017 are exciting announcements on new products, materials, and services from conference attendees and presenters. With today’s announcement, international 3D printing service provider Sculpteo is the latest one: they are bringing artificial intelligence to metal 3D printing. They just unveiled Agile Metal Technology, an online agent-based system used to help designers and manufacturers analyze and evaluate metal additive manufacturing projects.
Metal 3D printing is becoming more common in manufacturing, but these types of projects are usually very expensive, time-consuming, and complicated, because a part can’t be finalized without first going through multiple iterations. The Agile Metal Technology system will provide automation, management, and optimization to the complex process of metal additive manufacturing, which could help eliminate the need for making repeated parts before completing the final version.
France-based Sculpteo, which is run with a strong focus on corporate social responsibility, had a busy 2016, releasing their second “State of 3D Printing” industry report, debuting their new laser engraving service, and unveiling their physiochemical smoothing process at RAPID 2016 in Orlando. Clearly they’re not interested in slowing down, either. We know that metal 3D printing is the fastest growing segment of the entire 3D printing industry, and Sculpteo was ahead of the curve, introducing new metal materials in early 2015 such as pink gold and white rhodium; when it comes to different 3D printing materials, they know their stuff.
Their new Agile Metal Technology is very versatile, with the ability to automate complex procedures, locate and correct problems, find the “best fit” processes and techniques, and even offer recommendations on how to optimize design elements like lattices and supports.
“Metal 3D printing offers the possibility of building new parts with complex geometries that are not possible with traditional methods, however getting metal additive manufacturing right is a serious challenge. As the complexity of additive manufacturing grows, it is difficult to get the necessary information to make the project go smoothly. Experts and specific software exist, but they are extremely expensive, and add to production time,” said Sculpteo CEO Clement Moreau.
Six unique modules make up the Sculpteo Agile Metal Technology:
- Business Case
- Design Optimizer
- Lattice Generator
- Support Optimizer
- Batch Controller
The first tool of the Agile Metal Technology suite, Business Case, will debut at CES this week. It’s basically a self-learning AI that evaluates whether a specific CAD file is optimized for metal additive manufacturing. The tool appraises the printing materials, and delivers a cost and time budget approach for metal additive manufacturing solutions. The decision support and planning tool takes the user’s basic inputs, provides a judgement on whether additive manufacturing is the correct process for producing the part, and calculates any possible risks. The Design Optimizer builds on this by providing a deeper analysis of the design compatibility for metal additive manufacturing, and detects posing issues, suggests design modifications, and determines the best printing orientation for the part. It also tries to figure out the best way to handle any potential thermic constraints.
The Lattice Generator recommends the best structural configuration for the part, in order to meet cost and weight reduction goals, while still allowing the user to pick their preferred lattice cell design. The Support Optimizer displays the necessary supports that will meet the part’s requirements, such as tolerance and yield assessment; if you’re an expert user, you can add your own inputs and restrictions.
The Post-Processor will analyze the metrology necessary to meet the project requirements, and will also look into how the timeline and budget can be met. Finally, the Batch Controller is pretty much a copy of Sculpteo’s existing Batch Control Tool, which works to optimize the space and time of printing in order to reduce price. But the new Batch Controller is specifically designed for metal 3D printing technologies.
Sculpteo provides access to a large variety of materials, finishes, and techniques, and some obviously superior optimization tools for file analysis and repair. Come visit them at the 3D Printing Marketplace in the Sands Expo, Booth #42527, at CES 2017 this week. Don’t forget, 3DPrint.com will be on the scene as well, bringing you all the latest 3D printing news and announcements! Discuss in the Sculpteo forum at 3DPB.com.