Etteplan, Espoo, Finland, has launched a free browser-based tool, Etteplan AMOTool, said to allow companies to quickly calculate costs for the production of parts by metal Additive Manufacturing. According to the company, it has been using the algorithm behind the tool, developed by its Additive Manufacturing & Optimisation (AMO) team, for some years.
While the tool was used in-house, Etteplan stated that the goal of its team had long been to achieve a user-friendly tool that could be used by a wider group of users. The final online tool was created with support from Business Finland, in collaboration with Etteplan’s software unit.
“With this tool, our objective is not only to remove a major obstacle, but also to encourage our customers and the entire industry to make use of 3D printing technology and improve the competitiveness of products,” stated Riku Riikonen, Etteplan’s senior vice president, Engineering Solutions. “The tool makes it possible to compare metal 3D printing with traditional manufacturing methods.”
Toni Mattila, Director of Business Finland’s Sustainable Manufacturing Finland programme, commented, “Additive Manufacturing methods, such as 3D printing, open up excellent opportunities for companies to improve their cost-effectiveness and competitiveness. Distributed manufacturing increases operational flexibility, which is particularly valuable during exceptional periods like the one we are experiencing now with the coronavirus.”
“In addition, AM methods help manufacturing companies improve their material efficiency and sustainability,” she continued. “Despite the numerous benefits, however, many companies are still sceptical about the costs involved in using AM. That makes opening up the costs related to AM methods using a calculation service such as Etteplan AMOTool very valuable.”
In addition to providing a cost estimate, AMOTool offers an estimation of how design changes might improve the product or component’s cost-effectiveness. The tool also estimates whether redesigning is profitable or not, or if the product is unsuitable for metal AM.
“Assessing the cost level of 3D printing is challenging because, with previous methods, a reliable cost estimate is obtained only after the product has already been designed,” explained Tero Hämeenaho, Etteplan’s AMO Department Manager. “AMOTool solves this nagging problem. Our tool makes it possible to estimate the price of a 3D printed product even before starting an engineering project, and then determine whether it makes sense to use 3D printing.”
Although AMOTool works in a browser, it does not require users to upload their 3D model to the cloud, minimising the IPR risks associated with some tools. Leading industrial companies are said to have used AMOTool during the pilot phase with excellent results.
Learn more about Etteplan AMOTool: https://www.etteplan.com/services/engineering/additive-manufacturing/etteplan-amotool-calculate-your-production-costs-3d-printing