AddUp, the French original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of metal powder bed fusion (PBF) machines, will work together with Swedish software firm Interspectral to develop on visualization and monitoring for additive manufacturing (AM). As an Industry 4.0 solutions provider, Interspectral will provide methods for creating digital twins, as well as performing quality assurance (QA) and process monitoring, with its AM Explorer tool.
Interspectral Adds Digital Twins to AddUp
AddUp has its own dashboard solution and closed-loop powder bed monitoring tool. The joint venture between Michelin and Fives is now looking at monitoring and controlling the melt pool for PBF with a goal of moving towards manufacturing with an approach “based on multi-sensor hardware mounted into the optical chain. [T]his system tracks in real-time power and emissivity drifts, along with physical position of the lasers’ spot by achieving micron-level accuracy for every single layer and tailoring datasets to different user profiles.¨
Now, AddUp will be bundling Interspectral’s AM Explorer with its melt pool monitoring tool. The 3D visualization software allows users to generate multi-channel digital twins from data collected during the 3D printing process, including information from design, simulation, monitoring, and post-build part analysis. AddUp customers will be able to use Interspectral’s software to collect and analyze large melt pool data sets in 3D.
“AddUp’s melt pool monitoring solution has already generated vast interest on the market especially in the Aerospace segment. But to go even further, we wanted to provide the best-in-class multi-channel digital twin which would be able to track and focus potential defective zones during production while working on pure RAW data. Interspectral and its AM Explorer software have been a no-brainer when we started looking for the best solution available,” said Mathieu Roche, Software Product Manager at AddUp.
“This is a major break-through in the additive manufacturing industry and the first in-depth OEM integration of our multi-channel visualization solution AM Explorer. Through this in-depth integration, Interspectral and AddUp have empowered 3D printers with AM Explorer to achieve optimized efficiency for additive manufacturing production,” contributed Interspectral CEO Isabelle Hachette.
OEMs Establish 3D Printing Software Strategies
The approaches of individual OEMs to software are going to become more defined going forward. When users were only making one-off parts or performing tests, software was less important. The idea of simply firing up Magics and creating one’s own settings could suffice for a long time. However, if AM wants to move into true manufacturing, then the industry will need something like Link3D and Six Sigma for QA.
Additive Industries partnered with Six Sigma early on to provide its customers with access to QA and further process monitoring. SLM Solutions and others have collaborated with Materials for build processor software. Later on the metal PBF OEM released its own QA solution. EOS has worked with others and developed EOState, EOSprint and EOSconnect. Velo3D is more software-focused than hardware, with software being at the heart of the firm. Meanwhile, some OEM encourage customers to connect with MES developers such as Authentise, while still others remain more aloof.
Questions these OEMs should be asking themselves now are: Where do you want to win and where can you win? Going to eight or more lasers will require a lot of software and simulation just to get the machines to run. Do you offer everything yourself? Do you focus on becoming an ecosystem?
QA, qualification, process monitoring, melt pool monitoring and data analysis will become crucial to capturing efficiencies and entering into true manufacturing. In this case, AddUp has gone for establishing one main partner that they will depend on. However, that partner ostensibly will be much better at software than the hardware-focused AddUp. To me this is the right approach. Alternatively, an OEM could simply be as open as possible to anyone working with it and having access to machine data. That, however, could be scary.
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