As manufacturers begin to rely more and more on additive manufacturing (AM), moving from a few select piece parts that are 3D printed, to hundreds of assemblies in complex systems, a cohesive methodology is needed to manage this transition and associated workflows. Companies have tried to deal with these complexities and challenges with point and home-grown solutions, trying to adapt legacy systems to the new reality.
To the uninitiated, 3D printing may seem a simple process — download your CAD file and hit print. But the world of additive manufacturing is more complex. A manufacturer will have to contend with a range of data formats of varying quality (especially if a manufacturer is having to deal with multiple subcontractors for an assembly). This data needs to be correctly translated, made watertight, and made manufacturable — all while retaining design intent. Then a manufacturer needs to combine as many parts as possible to minimize both print time as well as wasted material.
The construction industry has long taken advantage of prebuilt components, from prehung doors to prefabbed roof trusses. But the latest trend is to apply manufacturing workflows to larger standardized and custom components, with digital modeling empowering factory-built bespoke components.
A major benefit of constructing a building virtually is the cost savings gained by identifying errors in the design before they are found on site. One of the more common errors that can be avoided is when two objects overlap in space or clash. For
We often focus the success of new partners, showcasing how Spatial helped with bringing a new product to market. But that focus overlooks the importance of the benefits and results of a decades-long partnership. It is time to celebrate nearly 30 years of market leadership of one of our oldest customers and the partnership that helped build it.
There is a new wave of innovative processes and solutions that improve product production throughput, and enable once-impossible product creation. Advances such as model-based design (MBD), additive manufacturing (3D printing), pervasive engineering simulation, and robotics are making it possible to streamline the product development process, reduce cost of production, and accelerate time to market.
Part and parcel with model-based engineering is model translation. Because the model is now the specification, accurate translation from one system to another becomes essential. But even if a model is accurately read, the intent of the model has to also be properly interpreted. Key to proper model interpretation is healing — the process of modifying model data so that it conforms to the rules of the target system, while adhering to the intent of the source.
We have written about the growing role of 3D modeling and printing in medical applications before, and its impact on improving people’s lives. But this technology holds ever greater promise in enabling life-saving procedures.
On May 15-19, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers held their annual RAPID event — the longest-running, additive manufacturing conference in North America. I attended the show last year, so I was surprised at how much the focus of the show had changed. Last year, there were many more personal 3D printers and applications targeting the hobbyist. On display were items such as wearable 3D-printed dresses and shoes, and home 3D-printers for less than $500. The focus of the show this year shifted significantly and was more on commercial/production solutions — high-end 3D printers with an emphasis on production environments and business-related applications. Perhaps this shift in the show is an indicator of where the industry is heading.
The term disruptive technology is often overused (and typically just marketing hype), but there are some technologies that evolve over time, having an ever increasing impact on our lives. 3D Modeling is one such technology, often unseen by the public, but changing the way products and systems are designed. Some industries such as aviation could not dream of returning to a world of 2D drawings. But other industries have been slower to adopt the technology, or have limited its rollout.