Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Stratasys & nTopology Partner to Create 3D Printing Design Workflows

ST Medical Devices

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Additive manufacturing leader Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) has announced a new collaboration with 3D printing and engineering software startup nTopology, which creates next-generation design and engineering software. Together, the two are working to make 3D printing easier by offering several customizable, accessible Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) workflows, the first of which is the FDM Assembly Fixture Generator for simplified fabrication of jigs and fixtures.

“Together we’re unlocking scalable 3D printing. It’s the power of Stratasys performance enabled by nTopology workflows,” the Stratasys website declares. “It’s the power of collaboration.”

New York-based nTopology recently closed a $40 million funding round to enhance its nTop Platform software, which offers rapid iterations, high-performance designs, and complex geometries to help users optimize digital manufacturing and fabricate parts that meet both functional and performance requirements. By partnering up with Stratasys, the quick modeling, topology optimization, and reusable workflows of its software will form the base of the new DfAM workflows, meant to be used with multiple Stratasys FDM 3D printing systems.

The FDM Assembly Fixture Generator automates the design of jigs and fixtures, such as this Stratasys Nylon 12CF manufacturing fixture.

“We look forward to super-charging the Stratasys additive community with nTop Platform by combining Stratasys expertise with our powerful platform, giving both of our users improved designs with faster time to manufacture. Manufacturing is going through the most profound shift it has seen in 100 years, and the Stratasys and nTopology collaboration brings this unique combined innovation to accelerate that shift,” said nTopology Founder and CEO Bradley Rothenberg.

Stratasys’s powerful FDM printers offer high reliability and accuracy, and work with advanced materials such as Nylon 12 Carbon Fiber, so these systems can actually provide 3D printed solutions for commercial airplanes and the International Space Station, two exciting but exacting applications. But current CAD software tools aren’t always the best bet, causing long lead times that make some think it isn’t worth it to adopt AM. By pairing nTopology’s software innovative platform with Stratasys expertise, the two companies are making the road to adoption easier to traverse, with improved design for additive manufacturing leading to better parts created faster.

3D printed fixture for a gas tank produced using Stratasys FDM additive manufacturing

“nTopology’s software for additive design is a powerful pairing with our additive manufacturing systems, so it was clear we should work together. Our analysis shows manufacturing applications are currently seeing the most growth in our industry, from $2.8 billion in 2015 to $25 billion in 2025, so we focused our first Collaboration on serving that segment,” explained Stratasys Senior Vice President of Products and Solutions Pat Carey. “Companies want to move faster – to be able to adapt to change – and pure digital manufacturing gives them that agility.”

Jigs and fixtures are tools used to control how another instrument operates, and, according to nTopology, making jigs, fixtures, and other tooling accounts for over 20% of all 3D printed end-use parts. The new FDM Assembly Fixture Generator automates the design of these tools, giving engineers a faster, easier way to turn part files into ready-to-print fixtures. A drag-and-drop is all that’s needed to remove bottlenecks and ramp up productivity and efficiency in manufacturing environments.

Complex 3D design of a jig produced using the FDM Assembly Fixture Generator on the nTop Platform engineering software

As part of the collaboration between Stratasys and nTopology, the FDM Assembly Fixture Generator is now available through a free trial on the nTop platform. The two companies are planning to release several other DfAM workflows in the future, and are also offering training videos and resources to users.

(Source/Images: Stratasys)

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