According to a market report by SmarTech, the market size for 3D printing will grow over 150% in the next four years; as it’s already at around $294 million, that’s a pretty big jump. In the same report, SmarTech projects that, by the year 2021, nearly 30% of the additive manufacturing software market will come from application-specific tools, and specifically ones from the medial and dental fields. The 3D software solutions that will be required for these markets will need to be highly customized – which is where Tech Soft 3D and its AM software development toolkits (SDKs) come in.
Oregon-based Tech Soft 3D is a top global provider of SDKs that help software teams deliver successful applications. Its toolkit products power nearly 500 applications that run on millions of computers all over the world, and include capabilities that are difficult and expensive to develop, like visualization, modeling, mesh processing, and CAD translation; the company also created the 3D format that’s part of today’s 3D PDF standard. Its tetra4D brand of end-user products are used to convert CAD data into 3D PDF.
Today, Tech Soft 3D announced that many of its partners who want to add 3D printing capabilities to their products, or even develop new ones, are choosing not to develop the technology to do so in-house, but are instead using its HOOPS SDKs and Polygonica, a market-leading mesh healing toolkit by MachineWorks.
Ron Fritz, CEO of Tech Soft 3D, said, “As 3D printing transitions from prototyping to commercial-grade production, it’s increasingly clear that robust software is a critical part of addressing real-world workflows. We’re pleased to be providing so much of the core software that is helping drive the professionalization and innovation the market is seeing in 3D printing software.”
There are many existing STL files still in use, with a high number of applications that depend on them, even though directly accessing CAD files is more common in 3D printing now. Tech Soft 3D is partnering with MachineWorks to offer Polygonica, which has many mesh processing tools for 3D printing workflows, alongside its entire HOOPS platform. Companies in the AM industry need to get quality manufacturing data into their own systems. While STL files are typically used for this, they’re prone to pesky errors. Products will be easier to use, and have a higher print quality, when a system can directly read both native and standard CAD file formats.
Additive manufacturing software developers can leverage Tech Soft 3D’s SDKs, which come with features like optimization, 3D scanning inspection, and build preparation and build processing tools, to efficiently add 3D functionality to their applications, which is far more cost-effective than developing the technology themselves in-house. The SDKs allow companies like Renishaw, which uses Polygonica for its dental 3D printing software, to develop excellent 3D printing applications and hold on to a competitive advantage in the market.
Tech Soft 3D’s range of products that help develop AM software include:
- HOOPS Exchange, which reads in and translates 20+ native CAD formats and also supports advanced workflows that include quality control metrology, geometry dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T), and computational engineering analysis by using data from the original CAD files.
- HOOPS Visualize, a powerful 3D visualization SDK backed by dedicated graphics experts for desktop and mobile.
- HOOPS Communicator, which offers high performance 3D graphic engines to help visualize engineering data on the web.
- HOOPS Publish, 3D data publishing for standard CAD formats and native 3D PDF, 3MF, STL, and HTML. It also creates smart reports and archiving because it allows for 3D print export.
- Siemens Parasolid Modeling Kernel, which supports advanced CAD/Additive Manufacturing workflows through its Convergent Modelling; this allows meshes and boundary representation (BREP) to combine.
Many 3D printing service bureaus, including Sculpteo, utilize HOOPS Exchange to increase project success rates for customers, by quickly loading over 20 different CAD file formats without having to use other CAD software.
“STL files are not sufficient for manufacturing. Reading CAD files was necessary. Even if we don’t traditionally use 3rd party software, the best option was to license HOOPS Exchange,” explained Clément Moreau, CEO of Sculpteo. “It was a fast integration, gave great performance and amazing results. With HOOPS Exchange we get access to the BREP which helps identify features, something we couldn’t get from STL. All of this is very important and contributes to a good user experience. Additionally, we can import dimension and tolerance information, which will be useful in the future.”
If you are interesting in learning more about SDKs for additive manufacturing, you can check out this Tech Soft 3D webinar, which lasts a little over half an hour:
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