Hexagon launches Nexus, a new platform to streamline distributed Additive Manufacturing
February 23, 2023
Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, headquartered in Cobham, Surrey, UK, has launched its digital reality platform, Nexus. The platform applies the latest cloud technologies in an effort to unblock innovation bottlenecks, enabling global teams to collaborate in real-time across the product lifecycle – from design and engineering to production and quality – to solve design and manufacturing problems together and accelerate time to market.
Nexus makes this possible by connecting equipment, data and processes to create a ‘digital reality’ where insights are available to people in real time, in context and in one place, so users can make better-informed decisions. Hexagon customers will be able to connect what they need from its portfolio of hundreds of design and engineering, production, and metrology software applications and devices, as well as third-party technologies.
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“Companies across the world are pushing the boundaries of innovation, and Industry 4.0 is bringing ever more tools, technologies and data sources into view,” stated Parth Joshi, Chief Product and Technology Officer for Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division. “However, the industry has a problem – processes and data sources are often siloed and team members struggle to collaborate across disciplines. This is severely hampering progress.
Joshi continued, “If companies are to reap the benefit of smart manufacturing, we need to change the way we work. With Nexus, our aim is simple – to bring innovative minds together across disciplines and empower them. By leveraging Hexagon’s expertise in innovation, and by connecting people, technologies, and data we can help businesses bring ideas to life faster than ever before. We’re excited to see what customers will do with the technology from today.”
“In our smart, connected future everyone will be on someone’s digital thread. At the same time, industrial companies are increasingly looking to the cloud to support their critical business needs. With Nexus, Hexagon helps their customers to more easily consume their considerable digital solution portfolio in the cloud, helping them to optimise their digital threads as part of their overall IT landscape,” he concluded.
The first solutions on Nexus are commercially available from today:
- Metrology Reporting, a Nexus app The app connects Hexagon and third-party metrology data sources in Nexus’ secure cloud environment so that companies of all sizes can immediately report on quality control data from their equipment to spot trends and identify tolerance issues. Any user can generate interactive three-dimensional CAD-based reports and insightful trend plots, KPIs and compliance documentation and up-to-the-minute data with colleagues, customers or suppliers
- Materials Connect, a Nexus app A cloud-based library for material data intended to empower manufacturers or material suppliers to manage material data, physical test data and behaviour models for use in product Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) workflows
- Materials Enrich, a Nexus app This uses the Nexus platform’s machine learning capabilities and cloud-accelerated material behaviour simulations to help users find and simulate optimal materials that may have never been made or measured, improving the performance and sustainability of their products
- Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM), a Nexus solution A pre-configured solution intended to make it easier and more efficient for teams to jointly develop an optimal metal additively manufactured part and prepare it for a successful build using the Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) process. Customers can use the Nexus web interface to connect Hexagon’s MSC Apex Generative Design and Simufact Additive process simulation software with AM Studio from CADS Additive and Materials Connect via the cloud and manage user access to projects
Processes such as DfAM have traditionally been siloed – with at least three different engineers and separate software applications solving problems in isolation. This lack of connectivity can lead to costly and time-consuming manual processes and loss of valuable data. With Nexus, these silos are hoped to be dismantled so that every engineer involved in the process is able to access the desktop software needed and connect their tools to work through problems together, in real-time.
Nexus will enable users to build on their existing portfolio of technologies by promoting the discovery of new tools, training, and support across a wide portfolio of software and hardware from Hexagon and its partner ecosystem. At launch, partners include Oqton, Ghent, Belgium, which will connect DfAM and similar pre-production workflows to its Manufacturing Execution System (MES), allowing customers to leverage data to improve lead times, address quality issues and empower operators. Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software company Altium will also connect its portfolio to Nexus to provide engineers insight with which to design and manufacture products with electronic systems.
“We’re happy to bring Oqton’s MES capabilities and IoT machine connectivity to Hexagon’s Nexus platform,” stated Ben Schrauwen, Founder and SVP, Oqton. “Like Hexagon, we are strong believers in open platforms and are excited to offer customers the best tools in the market, with real-time data-driven workflows that span engineering, design, and simulation processes. This next-generation platform blends design and manufacturing to reduce lead time while helping to improve outcomes and quality.”
Ted Pawela, Chief Ecosystem Officer, Altium, added, “We are very excited to partner with Hexagon to connect our Altium 365 platform with Nexus – our shared commitment to openness means we can quickly offer customers value. It will enable our vision of an ‘Intelligent by Design’, industry solution empowering teams to evaluate the impact of design choices earlier using the vast intelligence that Nexus and our Altium 365 solutions ecosystem offer across the product lifecycle.”
The first solutions from Nexus can be accessed and managed through the Nexus web interface, with a single login and user experience. Customers can invite any external user to the platform to share information – for example, sharing up-to-date ‘live’ metrology trend reports up and down the supply chain with one click. As more apps and solutions are connected to Nexus, companies may find it easier to make improvements to how they work and to solve problems with colleagues in the same company or across the supply chain.
Nexus is designed to help companies of all sizes, making the benefits of the cloud accessible without prohibitive cost, lengthy system integration or IT expense. There is no requirement to ‘move to cloud’, as the platform connects desktop and cloud tools together, and, because customers only need to share the data that their team members need, performance is optimised and intellectual property is protected at every step. The platform’s open architecture allows larger companies to connect teams using Nexus with their enterprise software platforms, maintaining their established business and regulatory processes whilst enriching the digital thread where required with missing data.
Anyone can sign up to explore the Hexagon technology ecosystem, with dozens of new apps, solutions, and portal features and localisations expected to become part of Nexus on a monthly basis over the next year as part of a committed and long-term roadmap.
Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence is a division of Hexagon AB, Stockholm, Sweden, a global provider of digital reality solutions combining sensor, software and autonomous technologies. In December 2022, the company announced a $100 million investment in Divergent Technologies Inc., Torrance, California, USA, a developer of Additive Manufacturing technology for the automotive industry.