3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) subsidiary Oqton has announced that it is expanding the software it offers through the Altair Partner Alliance (APA) to include 3DXpert and 3DXpert DfAM (Design for Additive Manufacturing). This means that users of Altair’s advanced computer aided engineering (CAE) products can now access these design tools for 3D printing, further advancing the relationship between additive manufacturing (AM) and simulation software.
Altair Users Can Access 3D Printing Build Prep Software
Upon its acquisition by 3D Systems, Oqton, a developer of production automation software, became the broader division responsible for the 3D printer manufacturer’s software tools. This includes 3DXpert, used to quickly translate a CAD model into a 3D printable part. 3DXpert DfAM builds on this capability by introducing methods for taking advantage of 3D printing’s unique design possibilities (e.g., light-weighting parts).
Altair is known for its CAE tools, particularly simulation, high-performance computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. Members of the APA can now download 3DXpert and 3DXpert DfAM on demand through, just as they can with other APA partner solutions. The software is available through Mechanical Engineer, Multiphysics/Mechatronics Engineer (MME), and Enterprise suites within the Altair Units license groups.
This means that, as an engineer is simulating a part for AM, they can leverage such 3DXpert and 3DXpert DFAM features as:
- Prepping a build within a true CAD environment, including the use of multiple geometry definitions, as well as feature recording and repeatability.
- Part light-weighting to improve functional properties, reduce material, and cut printing time.
- Built-in structure and thermal simulation within the design environment to predict, compensate for, and correct print errors.
- Slicing for a variety of 3D printers, with optimized print strategies for different areas of model, such as variable wall thickness, laser parameters, and printing without support structures.
“3DXpert provides a host of advantages that enable companies to innovate, improve efficiencies and lower costs when designing AM applications,” said Roy Sterenthal, vice president of software, Oqton. “The software maintains the integrity of native CAD files which reduces the opportunity for errors often seen with STL data. Additionally, it adds capabilities to work with implicit modeling and conformal lattice structures that rely on mathematical functions to design extremely complex geometries, enabling users to create novel parts not possible with traditional technologies. We’re excited about bringing 3DXpert and 3DXpert DfAM directly to Altair’s customers, helping them enhance their workflows and accelerate innovation.”
“3DXpert is manufacturing software, built on a CAD Kernel, but handles implicit representations, as well as mesh and voxel data,” said Myriam Mouyal, vice president of strategic relationships, Altair. “This allows for a frictionless implementation in any kind of AM design and production process. We’re happy to expand our partnership with Oqton, enabling APA users to reduce their print failure rates with parametric build preparation, and integrated process simulation.”
3D Printing, Simulation, and CAD Blend Together
The news represents an important trend occurring in 3D printing, CAD, and simulation. Simulation is increasingly crucial to ensure that models are printable on the first go, reducing material waste and its associated cost, while optimizing machine use. This, combined with DfAM design enhancement like light weighting, allows users to get the most out of 3D printing. Finally, by integrating these tools into native CAD software, the user experience is streamlined so that models can be made for AM without leaving the design environment. Altogether, this should increase efficiency throughout the entire design-to-production workflow.
We’re seeing similar developments across the industry. For instance, Stratasys has worked to integrate 3D printing capabilities into native CAD environments for some time, while simulation developer ANSYS has introduced AM simulation software through its 3DSIM acquisition. These are all crucial to the industrialization of 3D printing, as they take an otherwise foreign and costly technology like AM and make it more efficient and, therefore, less expensive to use. 3D Systems’ purchase of Oqton further drives this trend, as the company’s original software was designed to automate the overall production floor.
To educate users about 3DXpert, Altair is hosting a webinar titled “Boost 3D Print Designs & Accelerate Time to Market With an Advanced Toolset for Industrial Additive Manufacturing”, set for September 6, 2022, at 10:00 am Eastern Time/4:00 pm Central European Time.
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