New Mitsubishi Electric Automation Software Simulates Production Lines for 3D Printing

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Mitsubishi Electric Automation, a U.S. subsidiary of the Japanese multinational, has announced the release of MELSOFT Gemini 3D Simulator Software. MELSOFT Gemini 3D is a digital platform designed for simulating the production lines and workflow of a variety of advanced manufacturing processes, including 3D printing.

MELSOFT Gemini 3D is compatible with a hardware menu that includes about 2,500 different types of advanced manufacturing equipment, representing all parts of the production process. This allows users to synchronize the operations of the many different, complementary technologies comprising all the elements of emerging advanced manufacturing assembly lines. Notably, MELSOFT Gemini 3D achieves that objective without relying on the use of an Open Platform Communications (OPC) server. According to Mitsubishi, this enables the uploading of 3D data about 12 times faster than is possible with OPC-dependent networks.

Mitsubishi’s AZ600 metal 3D printer

The acceleration of progress in software platforms used to design and produce goods with additive manufacturing (AM) hardware has both driven, and been further catalyzed by, parallel progress in workflow management 3D software programs. In other words, as the software for AM has improved in recent years, so have the comprehensive digital environments facilitating virtually-managed production, and vice versa. The feedback loop between those parallel processes has been one of the most critical factors in propelling AM to the point where it now seems poised for rapid scale-up.

Global manufacturing giant Siemens has clearly led the charge on that front with its Digital Industries Software, along with forging a partnership in 2020 with metal AM original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Sintavia to jointly develop industrial AM software. Since that time, Siemens has only continued to expand its efforts to completely digitize advanced manufacturing, while always centralizing those endeavors specifically around AM.

In a similar way, even aside from the impact that Gemini software could have on advanced manufacturing as a whole, all of the companies within Mitsubishi Group will surely benefit from the release of the digital platform. Nikon could be in a particularly favorable position to leverage Gemini, given that the company just finalized its acquisition of German metal 3D printing OEM, SLM Solutions, capping off a two-year buying spree in the AM sector.

In any case, the software release should be most consequential in the context of Japanese industry’s attempts to gain ground in the battle for EV dominance. Japanese automakers appear to finally be ready to truly turn their attention to EVs, following a hyperfocus in the last couple of decades on thoroughly conquering the hybrid vehicle market. If any country has a realistic chance to quickly make up for lost time, concerning anything related to manufacturing, it’s Japan. For that to happen, though, the nation is going to have to make a push for industrial automation in markets outside of Japan on a scale that’s never been seen before.

Images courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric

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