AddUp, the French original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of metal powder bed fusion (PBF) machines, will work with Swedish software company Interspectral to develop visualization and monitoring for additive manufacturing (AM). As an Industry 4.0 solution provider, Interspectral will provide methods for creating digital twins, as well as performing quality assurance (QA) and process monitoring, with its AM Explorer tool.
Interspectral adds digital twins to AddUp
AddUp has its own dashboard solution and closed loop powder bed monitoring tool. The joint venture between Michelin and Fives is now studying the monitoring and control of the weld pool for PBF with the objective of moving towards manufacturing with an approach “based on multi-sensor equipment mounted in the optical chain”. [T]its system tracks power and emissivity drifts in real time, as well as the physical position of the laser spot, achieving micron precision for each layer and adapting datasets to different user profiles.¨
From now on, AddUp will bundle Interspectral’s AM Explorer with its melt pool monitoring tool. 3D visualization software allows users to generate multi-channel digital twins from data collected during the 3D printing process, including information from part design, simulation, monitoring and analysis after manufacture. AddUp customers will be able to use Interspectral’s software to collect and analyze large 3D melt pool datasets.
“AddUp’s melt bath monitoring solution has already generated great interest in the market, especially in the aerospace segment. But to go one step further, we wanted to provide a best-in-class multi-channel digital twin that would be able to track and focus potentially flawed areas during production while working on pure RAW data. Interspectral and its AM Explorer software was a no-brainer when we started looking for the best solution available,” said Mathieu Roche, Software Product Manager at AddUp.
“This is a major breakthrough in the additive manufacturing industry and the first deep OEM integration of our AM Explorer multi-channel visualization solution. With this deep integration, Interspectral and AddUp have enabled 3D printers with AM Explorer to achieve optimized efficiency for additive manufacturing production,” said Isabelle Hachette, CEO of Interspectral.
OEMs Establish 3D Printing Software Strategies
Individual OEM approaches to software will become more defined in the future. When users were only manufacturing single parts or performing tests, the software was less important. The idea of just launching Magics and creating your own settings might be enough for a long time. However, if AM is to move into true manufacturing, the industry will need something like Link3D and Six Sigma for QA.
Additive Industries partnered with Six Sigma early on to provide customers with access to quality assurance and deeper process monitoring. SLM Solutions and others collaborated with Materials for build processor software. Later, the metal PBF OEM released its own quality assurance solution. EOS has worked with others and developed EOState, EOSprint and EOSconnect. Velo3D is more software-focused than hardware-driven, with software being at the heart of the business. Meanwhile, some OEMs encourage customers to connect with MES developers such as Authentise, while others remain more distant.
The questions these OEMs should be asking now are: where do you want to win and where can you win? Upgrading to eight or more lasers will require a lot of software and simulations just to get the machines running. Do you offer everything yourself? Do you focus on becoming an ecosystem?
Quality assurance, qualification, process monitoring, weld pool monitoring and data analysis will become crucial to capture efficiencies and enter true manufacturing. In this case, AddUp has chosen to establish a main partner on which they will depend. However, this partner will apparently be much better at software than the hardware-focused AddUp. For me, this is the right approach. Alternatively, an OEM could just be as open as possible to anyone working with them who has access to machine data. This, however, could be scary.
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