formnext 2018

GE Additive outlines software strategy and Siemens introduces new software advancements for the industrialization of additive manufacturing

formnext 2018 - day two 

Alison Wyrick Mendoza

Move over hardware, today is all about software

Day one of formnext is officially done, and we welcome in day two.


It wouldn't be a complete week for me if I didn't spend some time with my former colleagues at the GE Additive booth. I'd heard rumors of a couple cool things going on (specifically "The Anything Factory" VR experience), so I penciled a visit into my schedule.

Rather than a big, new printer reveal this year (#nobigsheets), they announced today a new software strategy to develop a secure build preparation workflow suite. Keywords: strategy to develop. They're actually actively looking for beta partners to help with product development. I even noticed a subtle "Let’s build the best software solution, together," written on the wall above the live demo.


Per GE, additive users today face a variety of build prep tools which add complexity to the design process and can frustrate design engineers. And, on top of this, many of these design engineers are just learning how to navigate the AM process as a whole.

I had a conversation with Neil Siddons, CMO, GE Additive, about both the software strategy and the overall go-forward strategy. The response to my question on whether or not GE had any plans to announce a new machine this week was no. "No new machines. Instead, we're focusing on improvement." And when it comes to the new software suite, GE is listening to the industry, openly inviting them to the table to help come up with an optimal, useful product. 

Why do I think this is pioneering and worth a mention? 

To me, this is more than just an announcement of pending software development. It shows their genuine interest in supporting the industry through this critical phase toward industrialization. It shows their interest in the greater additive ecosystem. Once upon a time, you could win in business by building a better mousetrap: a product that was better than your competitors. Today, you win by building a better ecosystem. 

Learn more by visiting GE Additive's website here.

Siemens introduces new software advancements

I also stopped by to chat with my friends at Siemens today. Software seems to be a hot topic this year, so I wanted to hear more about their new Simcenter 3D AM Build Process Simulation software, announced this week.


This new solution is designed to address both additive manufacturing machine builders and machine users. The team offered use-cases to show how the use digitalization can significantly boost the flexibility and efficiency of AM production by radically reducing engineering workloads, often overlooked cost-drivers.

The software simulates the powder-based laser application process to enable 'first time right' prints. It can predict deformations, overheating and other defects which could occur during the printing process and automatically generates the corrected geometry to compensate for distortion and defects. This minimizes trial and error, and I don't need to elaborate on why this is valuable in an AM production environment.

Siemens is also developing intelligent algorithms that will determine the optimal de-powdering path of parts and automate programming of the machine.


Why do I think this is pioneering and worth a mention? 


Again, back to the AM "word of the year" for 2018: Industrialization. 


Defined, industrialization is the process by which an economy is transformed from primarily agricultural to one based on the manufacturing of goods. Individual manual labor is often replaced by mechanized mass production, and craftsmen are replaced by assembly lines. Characteristics of industrialization include economic growth, more efficient division of labor, and the use of technological innovation to solve problems as opposed to dependency on conditions outside human control.

These solutions hit on several of these characteristics:

1. Reduced workload > efficient division of labor.

2. First-time-right pre-build adjustments algorithms to determine de-powdering paths > use of technological innovation to solve problems vs. depdendency on conditions subject to human factors. 

Learn more by visiting the Siemens website here.


November 12, 2018

day one: BigRep unveils two industrial 3D printers with MXT Extrusion Technology

Powered by BigRep MXT and control systems developed in partnership with Bosch Rexroth, the PRO and EDGE offer bigger, faster, and more precise prints.

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