At Formnext 2022, SLM Solutions, Lübeck, Germany, presented its new software partner ecosystem. Comprised of some of the key software players in the Additive Manufacturing market, it is intended to assist its in-house software portfolio to deliver a comprehensive end-to-end AM software set. It is tailored to the customer’s individual requirements in build preparation, AM digitalisation, connectivity and quality assurance.
Nicolas Lemaire, Software Product Manager at SLM Solutions, stated, “This new software partner ecosystem – based on SLM Solutions open architecture – offers our customers the broadest and most compelling joint software portfolio to industrialise and take their AM operations to the next level, while overcoming key business challenges along the entire process chain.“
Materialise has been a key partner for SLM Solutions for many years. Its Magics software is a proven build preparation software for SLM Solutions’ products, both for industrial customers and as a basis for material development. “However, there is no one build preparation software that meets all requirements, each solution has its own merits,” explained Lemaire. “Thanks to our new partner ecosystem, customers can now choose the most appropriate build preparation software on the market that is best suited to the specifics of their application, and use it to design build job on their SLM machine.”
Digitalisation of the manufacturing processes and supply chains are on the rise in the AM industry and key asset for Industry 4.0, states SLM Solutions. In this context, manufacturers are seeking solutions to produce parts on-demand and remotely to reduce inventory costs and lead times. One key requirement for this is the strong protection of the intellectual property of the part designs and a full traceability in the digital end-to-end manufacturing chain.
Lemaire explained, “SLM Solutions and its key partners, well established in the encryption market, offer its customers out-of-the-box solutions to achieve these goals, when implementing such distributed manufacturing models.”
One of the disciplines on the road to Industry 4.0 is the machine connectivity and the integration of the Additive Manufacturing operations into broader processes. This is required to scale up production, maximise process efficiency and reduce waste and operating costs. SLM Solutions used its open architecture to partner with Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Internet of Things (IoT) solution providers in the AM space. SLM Solutions customers are expected to be able to implement such solutions into their SLM process to streamline and enhance production processes through automation, integration and full visibility on the additive manufacturing process.
SLM Solutions and Materialise are also collaborating on connectivity and secure digitalisation as part of SLM Solutions’ new software partner ecosystem.
“Materialise is proud to take the next step in the partnership with SLM. Welcoming SLM to the Materialise CO-AM ecosystem will empower innovators to take their AM operations to the next level, protecting build files, enforcing production rules, and enabling end-to-end data traceability,” added Vishal Singh, Senior Director of CO-AM. “Together, Materialise and SLM will deliver scalable and secure workflows for serial production and distributed manufacturing to our current and future customer base.”
Another new partner in this field is software provider Oqton, with whom SLM will enter into a strategic partnership in an effort to increase productivity, shorten lead times, reduce costs and give complete traceability to industrial AM customers.
Roy Sterenthal, VP Industrial Additive, Oqton, stated, “The partnership between Oqton and SLM Solutions will allow our mutual customers to access and optimise AM workflows in one place, bringing an end to fragmented workflows. Customers will be well-equipped to meet the growing need for highly complex parts and serial production in industrial Additive Manufacturing. Oqton’s excellent solutions for SLM machines, including our Manufacturing OS for order management and planning, optimised AI/ML and simulation-based build preparation, will enable customers to streamline successful and certified workflows and ensure traceability.”
Quality assurance is a must for serial production. SLM Solutions offers its in-house QA software SLM.Quality, which is aimed at optimising process qualification and part validation activities. The software enables evaluation of the build job process data through standard dashboards and full documentation of the build process thanks to a friendly reporting tool.
SLM Solutions also partners with leading quality assurance software companies to enable customers to perform extended quality control through more powerful dashboards, combining different evaluation technologies like industrial X-ray Computed Tomography with 3D visualisation and automatic part & process defect detection through machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies.