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.
It is a competitive world out there, and additive manufacturing (AM) OEMs face pressures like all manufacturers do when it comes to differentiating their products from their competitors.
Tags: Additive ManufacturingRead More 0 Comments
3D visualization is the process of using 3D visuals to analyze designs or scenarios.
3D visualization -- interchangeably used with 3D modeling, 3D graphics, 3D rendering and computer-generated imaging (CGI) -- is basically the use of 3D images to analyze designs.
Following the design and analysis phase, computer aided design (CAD) files are usually converted into polyhedra file formats for preparation and manufacturing in 3D printers. STL (STereoLithography or Standard Tessellation Language) is the most common polyhedra file format, having originally been developed to translate CAD files into a readable format for 3D printers in 1987.
Since launching in 1995, SolidWorks has emerged as a widely adopted computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided engineering (CAE) suite. In fact, as of March 2016 SolidWorks had captured 32% of the CAD market, making it the leading CAD suite in use.
Since its introduction in the 1980s, IGES (short for “Initial Graphics Exchange Specification) was the main computer aided design (CAD) format used for enabling the sharing of CAD files.
The main phases involved in additive manufacturing are that of design and the manufacturing process. Practically, the design work is done on a computer aided design (CAD) suite such as SolidWorks (and others), while the physical production phase - i.e. 3D printing - is facilitated by exporting the CAD file (e.g. SLDPRT) to STL, a format that can be read by 3D printers.
The use of additive manufacturing is growing in high-tech industries. According to the market research firm MarketsandMarkets (M&M), 3D printer production and additive manufacturing outputs grew in value to $3.5 billion in 2017. The leading adopters of additive manufacturing were the medical devices, aerospace and automotive industries.