After working significantly on its own metal 3D printing processes, Siemens has begun allowing third parties to commercialize its work. Previously, we saw this with Solukon, which has released a specialty software for depowdering parts made with laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), derived from work with Siemens Technology. Now, additive manufacturing (AM) data company Senvol has announced that it will commercialize LPBF databases from Siemens Energy.
Siemens 3D Printing Metals Join Senvol Indexes
Senvol will begin by releasing databases for Ti64, Inconel 625, and Inconel 718, generated by Siemens Energy on its own LPBF machines. Like Solukon’s SPR-Pathfinder software, these databases were originally developed for internal use. However, now, Siemens Energy is allowing them to be sold commercially via Senvol.
“This marks an extremely significant point in the additive manufacturing industry. Databases of this pedigree and magnitude are typically considered proprietary information and are not made commercially available to other organizations,” said Senvol President Annie Wang.
The databases will be available as a part of the larger Senvol Indexes product line, which include datasets for AM material characterization. This information allows users to instantly access data that would take months to develop and are sold for a fraction of what it would take to create independently. They include information related to hundreds of specimens put through dozens of test, like tensile, low cycle fatigue, high cycle fatigue, and creep across a variety of temperature conditions.
3D Printing Commercialization under AM Forward
That Siemens is making these products more widely available indicates that it wishes its own standards to be adopted across the industry, while also driving manufacturing at large to more quickly integrate 3D printing into its operations. This fits into the objectives of the Biden Administration’s AM Forward program, of which Siemens Energy is a founding member. The initiative has seen Siemens, alongside GE and the world’s largest defense contractors, work to facilitate the use of AM across their supply chains.
We are seeing here, at least in the case of Siemens Energy, that one of the primary ways that this will occur is through the commercialization of internal products. This simultaneously links these smaller firms like Solukon and Senvol more firmly into Siemens’ supply chain, while also ensuring that the industry is able to adhere to Siemens’ standards. Surely, Siemens gets a cut of the profits by licensing these products to its partners. Just as Siemens hardware has been integrated into over 120 of the roughly 350 industrial 3D printer types in the market, it has woven itself into the fabric of 3D printing through these partnerships.
It will be interesting to see if the other AM Forward businesses follow suit or if they have their own unique methods for introducing their ways of doing AM to the manufacturing sector. We may also expect similar products released by Siemens partners in the future, such as automation technologies for material extrusion, polymer PBF, and binder jetting. The Siemens-Solukon partnership began around 2018, so it may be another five years before some of these newer concepts to be fully commercialized, giving Siemens and its partners a head start before the rest of the market.
All images courtesy of Siemens Energy.
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