Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Hexagon and Authentise Partner for Open End-to-End 3D Printing Software Platform

HP

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Swedish tech company Hexagon has gradually been making in-roads into the additive manufacturing (AM) industry. This has mostly centered on simulation and design for 3D printing, such as through its partnership with IMDEA and its MSC Apex generative design software. Now, it has taken a significant step further into the space by teaming with Authentise, which focuses on 3D printing manufacturing execution systems (MES). Together, Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division and Authentise aim to offer an end-to-end software platform that covers everything from design and 3D printing to quality assurance to create a repeatable, predictable and traceable manufacturing ecosystem.

Authentise already attempts to manage nearly every aspect of production for a 3D printing factory, including pre-production steps for specific files, monitoring of every printer within a fleet, tracking of materials both within systems and around the workshop floor, quote generation, quality assurance, scheduling and the maintenance of a digital inventory of parts. It also attempts to collect and transmit as much data as possible from all of these steps so that they can be used to inform future production and integration into other software apps.

“We are excited to combine Hexagon’s solutions with our open workflow management engine to offer a unique end-to-end solution platform. Integrating data from Hexagon’s best-of-breed software and sensors helps deliver a seamless experience for users, automation across their process, and unlocks the ability to learn from data. This partnership represents a step change for the industry – together we’re delivering the integrated digital thread for additive manufacturing that customers have sought for so long,” said Andre Wegner, CEO of Authentise.

Hexagon’s simulation software. Image courtesy of Hexagon.

As a leader in simulation, metrology, CAD and geographic information systems (GIS), Hexagon has a lot to offer the 3D printing industry and one can easily see the synergies it would have with a firm like Authentise. As it develops simulation for 3D printing, for instance, we can imagine the ways it will be able to ensure that models are free from defects before printing, possibly by deforming them to compensate for any stresses that might occur during the fabrication process. Metrology can then be used to conduct quality assurance at the end of production, matching the final part with its CAD model. And the use of geospatial and GIS technology could potentially aid in the integration of the production line into the larger supply chain, tracking the shipments of parts to customers and supplies to the factory.

“Together with Authentise, we are building a next-generation framework for our customers to manage flexible, fully digitized production workflows in private cloud environments. For manufacturers, AM is a complex and changing market with many excellent tools, printers and materials to apply. We believe our open and flexible systems will enable us to respond quickly to customer’s needs and integrate with their unique environments. This will connect the data flow and help streamline their workflows in all stages of the AM process – before, during and after production and support their specific standards or compliance needs,” said Mathieu Pérennou, Global Business Development Director Additive Manufacturing for Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division.

The companies say that they will connect the various silos of manufacturing by digitizing every step, from part design to quality assurance, applying such technologies statistical process control (SPC) with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) in the process. Necessary to this weaving of the digital thread is the use of open architectures across the hardware and software used.

Hexagon’s metrology tools. Image courtesy of Hexagon.

Recently, 3DPrint.com Executive Editor Joris Peels predicted that MES companies will more likely be bought up, rather than built up, due to the long runway likely required to pay back investors. For that reason, it wasn’t surprising to him that Materialise scooped up Link3D and Bassetti bought 3DTrust. Perhaps Hexagon, which has partially established itself in so many industries due to a number of important acquisitions, will one day buy out its partner here, Authentise. It’s an idea suited to Joris’s Dream Mergers and Acquisitions series, at the very least.

In the meantime, those interested in applying for a free process evaluation, can visit the Authentise website here or attend Hexagon and Authentise´s presentations at the AMUG conference, May 2-4, 2021.

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