The importance of connectivity in the AM workflow

3D Printing Industry recently sat down with Keyvan Karimi (pictured above), founder and CEO of  AMFG, to discuss the importance of connectivity to achieve scalable additive manufacturing workflows, and how him and AMFG plan to give this connectivity to manufacturers through its MES software and its partnerships with other companies like Autodesk and EOS.
AMFG recently collaborated with 3D design software company Autodesk to integrate both the AMFG’s MES and Autodesk’s Netfabb/Fusion 360 software, so they that both can create a fully connected workflow. AMFG believes that connectivity is one of the biggest challenges that prevents manufacturers from adopting this new form of technology. Global manufacturers are wanting to connect their supply chains and productions sites.
Karimi told 3D Printing Industry quote, “Connectivity is key to operational efficiency, traceability and productivity within AM,” “As manufacturers look to scale their AM operations, they will need to manage and execute these operations across their supply chains and, very often, across multiple production centers. This requires integrated processes that can respond to real-time demands — in other words, connectivity.”
Connectivity in the additive manufacturing is divided into three major areas:
·         Machines
·         Processes
·         Supply chains
Allowing creativity to be enabled in these three areas allows manufacturers to integrate their processes and scale their additive manufacturing.
Machine connectivity is the ability to transfer data flawlessly between a 3D printer and the MES’s workflow software. Karimi further added to this by saying quote, “This offers the benefit of machine control and greater visibility into real-time operations, and it also means that companies can leverage the increasing amount of machine and production data to identify potential bottlenecks and optimize their processes.”
Process connectivity is the connection between a company’s inner workflows, as well its production centers. Several AMFG’s customers operate globally, Karimi explains, and that a major issue for them surrounds the ability to connect to their production centers and operations. By creating MES, AMFG allowed their customers to scale their operational expansion. Karimi also added, “By connecting their operational processes, our software is helping manufacturers gain better visibility into their operations and better optimize resources and production.” Karimi also said quote, “With both sides – OEMs and their suppliers – using our platform, the result is a streamlined workflow which is significantly more efficient.”
The big question is: how does AMFG plan to speed up connectivity in the AM process chain using its MES software?
Karimi stated that both he and AMFG are speeding up connectivity through their partnerships and collaborations with other companies.
For machine connectivity, in November 2019, AMFD announced a partnership with German 3D printer OEM EOS. This partnership aims to connect AMFD’s MES software with EOS machines. AMFD’s partnership with EOS is yet another step towards increasing connectivity between machines and software.
AMFD is also in collaboration with Autodesk in addressing process connectivity. Thanks to this partnership, users can now prepare their 3D files for printing using Autodesk’s design software, and then transfer their files over to AMFD’s workflow simulation for management and integration with the whole process chain.
In the end, AMFD’s main goal is to enable the scaling that is very important for additive manufacturing. Karimi concluded by saying quote, “Ultimately, one of the biggest barriers to scalability within additive manufacturing is the lack of a seamless, end-to-end workflow because of disconnected, manual steps. Our work in driving a more connected, integrated value chain is to provide the traceability and scalability needed to push AM to industrialization.”
Essop, Anas. “INTERVIEW: AMFG CEO Keycan Karimi on the importance of connectivity in the AM workflow.” 3D Printing Industry. 3rd Mar. 2020.