Relying on a virtual inventory of parts that can be 3D printed as needed is key to countless companies, and Authentise is forging ahead by releasing a new major product to simplify how digital designs are shared. Known as Digital Design Warehouse (DDW), the new platform will unite and share additive manufacturing (AM) initiatives and spare part catalogs. By helping organizations create more cohesive AM initiatives, the DDW even goes beyond just spare parts. Authentise says DDW also integrates digital manufacturing solutions from Zverse for 2D to 3D conversions and Castor for additive opportunity assessment.
An award-winning software provider for industrial manufacturing, Authentise has been digitizing manufacturing operations with software since 2012. Over the years, Authentise Founder and CEO Andre Wegner and his team have streamlined the 3D printing workflow with their integrated system, now covering the entire additive manufacturing process, from pre-production through to material management modules for metal additive powder.
By bringing insights from disparate silos into full view across all teams, the DDW allows everyone their own personal library by uploading any 2D and 3D file type with fully configurable additional parameters. Those designs can be further analyzed using plugins from third parties such as Zverse, which enables the conversion from 2D to 3D, and Castor, which assesses the project’s suitability for additive manufacturing.
Sharing is at the heart of the new platform. Access is tightly controlled with granular permissions, enabling users to share projects and designs quickly with internal and external stakeholders (such as suppliers or customers) without needing 3D CAD software but by uploading any file in any format. The platform even provides a space for everybody to engage in conversations, edit (where permitted), and view or access designs.
A particular use case for the Digital Design Warehouse is spare parts. Authentise has ensured that Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can rely on the platform to first manage the design and engineering process, bringing multiple designs, R&D, and testing stakeholders together. Once complete, the design can be shared securely with potential clients via a fully custom-branded catalog. Furthermore, the inclusion of an “Order Now” button (integrated into production and supplier management system if required) allows for the design to be sent directly to a production center of their choosing. If anything, Authentise’s evolution in the last decade has proven that the market for additively manufactured spare parts is rapidly evolving.
In fact, Castor CEO Omer Blaier says, “We’ve helped many companies assess the additive opportunities in their portfolio and acquire large databases of designs ready for action. What’s missing is a tool to help them develop those projects and then securely share those designs with production facilities. We’re delighted to see Authentise moving to fill the void and excited to be part of the project.”
Similarly, Wegner suggests that the new launch shows that the distributed manufacturing dream that Authentise was founded on ten years ago is not dead. On the contrary, he believes that although it will take several more years of “concerted effort by the industry,” soon plane crashes caused by the lack of available spare parts, as occurred in Nigeria in 2012, will be history.
That year, a plane from Air Nigeria crashed, killing 163 people. Following the aviation accident, documents obtained by Reuters from the defunct airliner suggest financial mismanagement was primarily to blame since the Nigerian airline routinely lacked the money to pay for spare parts, maintenance, hangars, or handling agents, ten of its 11 aircraft should not have been flying. More recently, Latvia’s flag carrier airBaltic canceled several of its services in September as it has been forced to restructure operations amid a spare parts shortage. While a new report by the Wall Street Journal says, airlines like Lufthansa, Qatar, and Silver Airways will have to restructure the entire flight network operation to deal with parts shortages, a truly unfortunate situation that will also cost businesses millions of dollars.
In 2020, Editor-In-Chief Joris Peels described how precious a 3D printed spare part could be to repair goods that would have otherwise been disposable.
“With 3D printing, we can make things last longer. We can make spare parts and create out-of-production spares to extend the life of many everyday objects. Of course, many more people will need to be able to design for this to take on meaningful proportions of all the things. Perhaps, if our phones became 3D scanners or if it were easier to take 2D and make it 3D, we could radically extend the life of many things,” explains Peels.
Wegner, who is also Chair of Digital Manufacturing at Singularity University, says the unfortunate situation that has been unraveling globally with spare parts can be resolved. With Authentise’s open platform that integrates Castor and Zverse, Wegner says customers can identify and develop the applications that ultimately help drive the industry. Furthermore, he states that the DDW will include more features from third parties in the future, as well as Authentise’s toolkit, such as prep workflows.
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