AMS Spring 2023

Desktop Metal 3D Printing Gets Digital Overhaul from Siemens

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As 3D printing firms weather the economic downturn, industrial giants are able to further ingrain themselves into the additive manufacturing (AM) industry. The latest example of this is a new partnership between Siemens (FWB: SIE) and Desktop Metal (NYSE: DM). The deal will see Siemens technology integrated into Desktop Metal 3D printers to further industrialize its AM for “the world’s largest manufacturers.”

Image courtesy of Desktop Metal on social media.

According to the companies’ announcement, Siemens technology for operation, information, and automation will be included in Desktop Metal printers. Meanwhile, these printers will also be fully integrated into Siemens simulation and planning software for machine and factory design. This means that digital twins of these systems can be created to design and optimize Desktop printers, while Siemens Advantage can simulate binder netting and factory planning. Altogether, this will not only allow users to enhance part production, but also map out the ideal plant for manufacturing. 

Plant simulation with Siemens software. Image courtesy of Siemens.

The collaboration will go beyond interlinking the various products from Siemens and Desktop Metal. They will also be partnering on specific industrial-scale projects related to such topics as data handling and environmental, health and safety. Binder jet will be the focus of their efforts as they promote it as a means of efficient production that may have the ability to reduce waste with high throughput. 

“Additive Manufacturing plays a crucial role as horizontal technology for many industries on their way to improved material efficiency and decarbonization,” stated Tim Bell, head of the Siemens Additive Manufacturing business in the United States. “We are very excited about this partnership with Desktop Metal. Combining our digital twin concept for planning and simulation as well as the automation of the production systems with the technology of Desktop Metal will accelerate the transformation to scale. As additive manufacturing continues its path to industrialization, collaborations like this will drive additive manufacturing to greater levels of quality and throughput only traditional manufacturing methods profit from today.”

“We’re proud to partner with Siemens to improve the integration of Desktop Metal solutions into existing trusted Siemens manufacturing infrastructures, which can help manufacturers prove out their manufacturing resources and concepts prior to the purchase of full work cells,” said Ric Fulop, Founder and CEO of Desktop Metal. “Enabling customers to simulate different task-time scenarios for the full binder jetting process can help customers plan before they purchase any equipment. As our technology continues to make inroads toward high-volume production, we believe Siemens technology will be of increasing value to our customers.”

As Desktop Metal seeks to tighten its business and continue on its path toward profitability, it could likely become one of the key players in the full industrialization of AM technology. At the same time, large multinationals like Siemens will be the beneficiaries of those developments on the part of smaller firms. It has already seen its hardware integrated into over 120 of the roughly 350 industrial 3D printer types on the market, according to Tim Bell in a presentation at IMTS 2022. Now, as it pushes its digital twin and simulation software, it will find itself as integral to both the hardware and software sides of AM, as Industry 4.0 slowly continues to become a reality.

One might wonder if, after all is said and done, Siemens might end up acquiring a firm like Desktop Metal. Given the fact that it may be represented in over one-third of the industrial 3D printer types on the market, it seems as though it doesn’t need to own the original equipment manufacturers themselves.

Feature image courtesy of Siemens.

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