CASTOR Now Analyzes 2D Files for 3D Printability

Formnext Germany

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Israeli firm CASTOR has updated its part identification software so that it can now analyze 2D files, in addition to 3D models. The software can now recommend 3D printing costs, viability, and technology choice for 2D PDF based parts.

CASTOR’s Capabilities

This opens up the software to the many files worldwide that are not held in 3D formats and to firms that still rely on 2D files. Legacy maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) components can now be identified as to their suitability for 3D printing. CASTOR’s computer vision and machine learning-based algorithms divine the product manufacturing information (PMI), while continuously learning from that information. 

 “CASTOR is expanding its value proposition by offering many companies, which were not able to assess the compatibility of 3D printing to their organization until now, a feasible way to automatically analyze their design files and gain deep valuable data and knowledge regarding the potential of AM for them. We give these organizations a tool that helps them find new business cases and discover opportunities to reach their initiatives and 3D printing goals, using their existing 2D design files,” said CASTOR CEO Omer Blaier.

The company claims that thousands of parts can be uploaded simultaneously, extracting such PMI data as size, volume, 3D printability and costings in the form of a report or Excel spreadsheet. Furthermore, the software can indicate how a part can be lightweighted, how an assembly can have part count reduced, and how 3D printing costs compare to traditional processes. Other factors analyzed include build volumes, tolerances, and failure potential, which relies on the company’s own finite element analysis (FEA) capability.

The Business Case for CASTOR

One of the most requested services in the 3D printing industry is the ability to know what parts can be 3D printed. In particular, large corporations are attempting to determine just where and how they can deploy additive manufacturing (AM). In some cases, they have have millions of parts, some going back decades, in a wide variety of formats. Somewhere in that haystack of components, there would be candidates that make an excellent business case for 3D printing. However, finding these items is expensive and time consuming, often requiring knowledge that these companies don’t have or don’t have in spades.

CASTOR, along with 3DYOURMIND, 3DSpark, SelectAM, and Pathfinder, are active in the space. Their tools can accelerate AM adoption, provide businesses with more information about their additive opportunities, and help them to make adequate investments in 3D printing. These firms will have the problem that their total number of clients is potentially not as big as they may think. However, if they manage to really deliver on value, they could be used very widely in very many firms.

So far, the large CAD companies have dipped their toes into this kind of capability, but not invested deeply. It would be one hell of a feature for Autodesk, PTC, Siemens, or Dassault, so the exit opportunities for these startups seem ever present. But it will be a long slog to get to credibility and penetrate the global client base for these firms. Right now, it looks like the opportunity is considerable but that the competition is ripe to be thinned out somewhat. By extending its analysis capability to 2D files, CASTOR can really make itself much more relevant to many firms, an important step for the startup.

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