PostProcess Technologies, Buffalo, New York, USA, is set to launch its CONNECT3D™ software platform, an expansion of its AUTOMAT3D™ software offering, at AMUG 2018, St Louis, Missouri, USA, April 8-12. While the company’s AUTOMAT3D software offers the intelligent removal of additively manufactured support materials and surface finishing, the new CONNECT3D platform is said to extend this capability into the cloud.
According to PostProcess, this makes it the first system to address end-to-end Additive Manufacturing within the digital thread – the cloud-based chain that collects and connects data throughout each component’s production. In Additive Manufacturing, data can be captured and connected in the design and production phases, but usually not during the finishing stage. CONNECT3D makes it possible for the digital thread to continue to collect and connect data through finishing.
The CONNECT3D software platform is said to be fully adaptable to the customer’s needs, and enables PostProcess’s solutions to leverage native CAD and/or sliced files to automatically define the necessary requirements and algorithms for post-processing. By constantly collecting and connecting data across the manufacturing process, the digital thread has the capability to allow CONNECT3D to become progressively ‘smarter’ and more efficient at making the correct decisions to deliver optimal post-processing results.
“Currently, the concept of the ‘digital thread’ within Additive Manufacturing ends once parts are printed,” explained Daniel Hutchinson, Founder & CTO of PostProcess. “Conventional finishing processes rely on tribal knowledge and hand tools, so there is no ability to collect or transfer data. The lack of transferable data limits the post-print process, but also fundamentally weakens the design process.”
“Design input decisions, such as part orientation, are undermined due to a lack of downstream process data,” he continued. “Critical areas such as maintaining strength along a preferred axis and minimising the amount of support material are jeopardised. An intuitive process, one that learns from itself, was not viable before today. Now, with CONNECT3D, PostProcess has brought the first solution to the industry that connects the digital thread through the post-printing step. This is revolutionary for Additive Manufacturing in its entirety, not just post-printing.”