War stories from the AM Battlefield

Despite its rapid growth in recent years, the Additive Manufacturing User Group is still just that: A user group of amazingly talented individuals with long experience with every aspect of the technology. It’s the reason we love being there.

So while we showed off our Manufacturing Execution System and 3Diax Modular Platforms in the Exhibits, we were keen to build on the ethos of AMUG during the sessions. The result was a roundtable on the challenges companies are experiencing while they seek to scale up their additive manufacturing operations. We act as organizers – the audience are the real star.

I do a lot of public speaking, and frankly – complete control via a prepared speech is a LOT less nerve-wracking than hoping that people participate. But we were not disappointed by the User Group; the collaborative nature of the event showed up in full force and thanks to the excellent moderation of Additive Manufacturing Media’s Editor-in-Chief, Pete Zelinski, came to highly productive uses.

Authentise AMUG roundtable on challenges in additive
Authentise AMUG roundtable on challenges in Additive Manufacturing

So what were some of the topics people came up with?

Multi-material Documentation

Challenge: Multi-material, for example ABS infused with carbon, is becoming more prevalent, but the file definitions remain a major barrier. Line drawings certainly don’t do the trick anymore, especially as the complexity grows with deviations, infill requirements, orientation and more.

Comments: One participant suggested using XML structures attached to the geometry, while others referred to Model Based Design efforts that help to go beyond simple geometries and address scalability issues with the first suggestion through NIST-sponsored standardization.

Managing Downtime

Challenge: Despite the digital nature of AM, there are still significant challenges even in basic operations: How do we know when something is down? How do we include expected, predicted or current downtime in our schedules? How do we maintain throughput in a failure scenario?

Comments: This one was close to our own heart, Authentise’s MES was mentioned not just once in this context. In addition, participants pointed out that solutions go beyond data-driven scheduling software – they include additional sensors, machine learning to better predict run times, standarizing machine data access, furthering the use of augmented reality for machine maintainance and more.

Part Certification

Challenge: Lack of fully documented testing knowledge means we might be spending too much time and money testing, documenting, standardizing and more. How much testing is really necessary to make sure a part can fly.

Comments: Naturally, answers here differ by industry. They range from dozens of successful builds to just two. Standard practice seems to be freezing particular machine and locking in orientation, build plate setting and support.
There was a vigorous exchange on these and other topics. Certainly, there were a lot of things we could have done better (like adding interactive voting tools, such as PollEverywhere), but the audience really took up the mantle; AMUG participants are collectively smarter than any speaker they could put up. Encouraging conversations about challenges and solutions is the best way to learn – for ourselves and for participants. We’ll certainly be back next year and build on this success.

🏤 Learning from the Masters 🏭

Learning from the Masters

In the last few months we’ve had 200+ client calls, 5,000+ miles on the road and 10’s of thousands of miles in the air to meet you. This is what we’ve learned.

After the launch of our Manufacturing Execution System late last year we hit the road very hard to understand what clients think, what works well and what’s missing. Some of it we know, some if it was new. At a high level, there were few surprises but great reminders:

  1. AM companies are investing in IT infrastructure: Large & small corporations alike have developed sufficient use additive use cases to be certain that the technology will have a place in production for some time to come. As a consequence, managers are thinking about what that means for production workflows & the digital thread – a whole new world is opening up. That’s great news for us and our customers, especially as we witness an expansion of that thought process from just additive to production in general – Additive is a lighthouse for manufacturing in general when it comes to the Digital Thread.
  2. Production is 20% printing: In the forefront of the AM process is the AM machine – but going to visit sophisticated shops with significant material, testing and post-production tools, it’s becoming ever clearer that focusing on them exclusively is a fallacy.
  3. Needs vary: In the past we’ve thought about our clients in 3 buckets: External Service Providers, Internal Prototyping Operations, and Production Operations. You can see some of the differences and how we address them on our website. While we generally find that 90% of the tools are the same, there are still stark differences – especially if organisations specialise on metals or polymers.

What does that mean for our product?

We’re constantly adding and changing the MES suite and our 3Diax modules, so of course we’re going to incorporate these learnings. A few of the things that are coming up are:

  1. Process scheduler: Every product may follow a different path, or follow an existing production sequence. To help with this, we’re going to be allowing operators to design process templates by selecting production steps that define what needs to be done, when and what inputs machines or operators need to give.
  2. Integrating more devices: To make tracking that process easier, we’re integrating ever more machines to provide feedback directly into the MES. Adding feedback from CT, HIP, material testing devices and more helps us cover the entire process, not just production and leads – ultimately – to full digital traceability and automated QA.
  3. Planning variations: Right now, we’ve enabled clients to set up their build in our system. Given that different organzations have different ways of doing so, we’re enabling a second way – one that supports clients in using external systems to set up the print bed but use MES to track the production. Fortunately, MES works in the browser (though you can still install it locally – no need to use our cloud), so we have infinite flexibility in making sure the program works for you. You can see what a difference it makes below.

Most importantly, we learned the value of listening – we’re building a 21st century MES that doesn’t suck together with our clients so if you feel strongly about any of the learnings above, would like us to come and meet you in person, have other product ideas that you’re burning to make real or just want to learn more about us, please get in touch.

Schedule Demo here


Authentise on Tour

May is gearing up to be a busy month and we hope to see you on our travels: You can catch us in London, Knoxville, Louisville, Boston, Pittsburgh (Rapid!) and of course in San Francisco, LA and Salt Lake City. We’re super excited that Anusha, our brilliant computer vision engineer, is presenting at Rapid, where she will be joined by our CEO, Andre Wegner, who is helping to curate the Exponential Manufacturing conference in Boston. If you’re interested in discounts for the latter, let us know – it’s gearing up to be a fun show.

Intelligent Additive Order Management 💡💡 – November Newsletter

This month, we were incredibly proud to announce our new 3Diax Manufacturing Execution System.

Additive Manufacturing was hard enough without manual updates to track orders & prints. As the number of prints increases, it gets hard to stay on top of what’s printing, where, what the next steps and customizations are. Now we can help you.

The software provides all the tools needed to organize modern, scalable additive manufacturing operations.

It builds on many 3Diax modules; in particular our announced machine analytics module, which makes it possible to receive seamless updates from printers. This foundation allows for an order status to be automatically updated and provide all parts of operations – from sales to printer operators – with real-time information to deliver quality parts efficiently and reliably.

A customizable dashboard provides instant overview of the automatically updated status of orders.

Features include the ability to create and track orders through shipping, quote, identify key metrics (such as print time), create build trays, automatically update order status based on actual printer data, and track multiple locations at once. MES is available on- or off-premise and works on tablets, phones, and computers.

Exciting new expansions are in the works: automated traceability documentation, material tracking for metal powders, automatic serialization. MES is a tool that manages your shop floor, for you. What features would you like to see? Get in touch now and tell us.

Best, the Authentise Team

PS: Want to stay on top of weekly 3D printing news, try our weekly news-in-review straight to your inbox. Subscribe now.

PPS: Have you seen our new website?

Fully Integrated Additive Manufacturing ➰ – October Newsletter

Those of you actually printing and building things; you know that making it happen isn’t just about one process or a single step.

That’s why one of our priorities has been integrating with other systems so we can support people getting stuff done rather than opening up many different programs for each stage. So we’re proud this month to have made real progress on that.

First, our integration with EOS printers went into production, further extending the reach of our Machine Analytics tools. That lets you monitor the status, utilization, failure rate and more of your entire production or prototyping facility, not specific to a single Machine Provider, as we told you last month. More transparency leads to better decisions, whether it’s in resource allocation or processes.

Authentise 3Diax Machine Analytics Schedule can tell you what is printing, where.

Integrating doesn’t stop with machines. We’ve just pushed our first integration with other software tools into production too: From now on, we can grab files from Materialise StreamicsTM, process them, and send information back to StreamicsTM. Our specific client wanted to benchmark internal vs. service provider costs without sharing IP. So we deployed our geometric search module, our internal quoting module, our external quoting module and our dashboarding module to give him a real-time benchmarking tool to help defend capital expense decisions and more. But now that this integration is live, you can take advantage of it too.

Of course, we’re integrating into large legacy systems. Those integrations come with significant security protocols attached, so every time we do another client integration we get more secure. Last month’s clients are all among the Global 2,000 top companies – so you can rest assured that our security has been tested, and tested again and that our engineers know exactly what it takes to integrate with your existing legacy systems, such as Single Sign-Ons.


Next up: Many more integrations! We’re thinking Zapier next, which would allow you to integrate our Machine Analytics into over 700 programs including ZohoCMS, Salesforce, Quickbooks and more. What do you want to integrate with? Tell us in reply!

Of course, there are new features coming out too, and next month we have a particularly big release ready to go out. You’ll hear all about it, but we’re also interested in the features you’d like to see more of. Recently our client conversations have revolved around 3 main interest areas, where process automation would be critical: Material Batch Control, Quality Assurance/Traceability Reporting, and Multi-site Print Management. Are they the ones that interest you too?

As always, contact us anytime! We’re going to be at FormNext in November – so if you are too, please let us know and we’ll make sure to meet. Just reply to this mail.

PS: Want to stay on top of weekly 3D printing news, try our weekly news-in-review straight to your inbox. Subscribe now.

3Diax Machine Analytics Released at IMTS – September Newsletter

Welcome back to productivity folks – summer’s officially over. We kicked off the post-Labour day season with a flurry of announcements. As always, if you want to more than just a monthly newscast, sign up to our week-in-review or follow us on twitter! So, without further ado, our big announcement for those seeking total productivity after the summer lull:

Authentise Announces Machine Analytics for Additive Manufacturing 

Authentise 3Diax Machine Analytics Dashboard

First tool to automatically monitor active prints and identify Key Performance Indicators is a key step to moving the technology from lab to production.

Identifying what’s printing, where; automatically updating order status based on print status; easy detecting key KPI’s such as utilization or material use. All that is too hard today. 3Diax Machine Analytics makes it easy.

3Diax Machine Analytics Schedule
3Diax Machine Analytics Schedule

With 3Diax Machine Analytics, this sort of data is automatically captured to more quickly identify available resources, inefficient processes and serve as a foundation for further automation.

You can only improve what you can measure!

Press Release Mountain View, CA, September 12, 2016


Authentise & Additive Show Strong @ IMTS

Additive exploded at IMTS and even got its own part separate side conference & exhibition. The main question from the audience remained the same: How to get from the prototyping stage to the production stage.

Completely speaks to our slogan since our first days in 2013. Authentise 3Diax platform gets larger and larger and the modular open API concept allows companies to seamless exchange of information between the modules and current IT systems and machines to augment well established processes rather than replace them. Our open API acts as a glue in between your applications.

Click here for an overview of all open API modules on the 3Diax platform.


Engineering.com: Authentise Aims to Support Industrialization of Additive Manufacturing

3Diax is a software platform that incorporates 30 different modules dedicated to controlling, monitoring and analyzing manufacturing equipment in order to bring greater efficiency to the production process.

Full article at Engineering.com


Stop ‘wasteful’ processes! Digitize and automate operations – extend Lean to your additive manufacturing workflow with 3Diax’s modular software platform from Authentise. Continuos improvement to elevate efficiency and quality to a higher level. That how you outperform competition!

Schedule Demo here


Authentise on Tour

Our CEO, Andre Wegner, just came back from Dayton, Ohio, where he spoke at the inaugural Additive Manufacturing Industry Summit.

This month we’ll be in Banff, Canada, to speak at the Global Business Forum, and in London, UK. We’ll also be speaking at Singularity University in the Mountain View area. Of course, we always have a presence in Los Angeles and in Salt Lake City. So if you’re in the area – come on by!

SUBSCRIBE

 

August Newsletter 2016

Hi there, nice to meet you again!
It’s been a long time since our last newsletter – we’ve been busy! From now on, expect to hear from us at the monthly intervals you were used to. Here’s what we’ve been up to since our last newsletter.


 INTEGRATIONS
We’re kicking off work on integrated 3Diax, our modular process automation platform, with three of the world’s leading users of Additive Manufacturing. Projects include:

Clients

These are just the first steps. Each of our clients has a roadmap of automation challenges for our modules to solve. Arrange a time to discuss how we can help your company grow Additive Manufacturing to production scale.


 MODULES

Every time we extend the platform, we open them up to everybody. That’s right, you too! Here are the important updates for this news cycle:

Of course, you could also try one of our existing services including slicing, streaming, or vision.

Now, do yourself a favour and sign up for our newsletter below to get it delivered into your inbox every month:


Meet us! – Upcoming Events

See our upcoming events here: http://authentise.com/news/events/

We’ve always been around events to tap the pulse of the industry and meet with clients. Recently, we’ve taken a more prominent role in them. Recently we’ve spoken at a GE Ventures at the Field Museum in Chicago while IMTS was going on, at 3D Printing Politics, at Huawei in China, at Singularity University, at Designer of Things, among others.

We’ve not done a terribly good job of keeping you all up to date with future events, or recapping our experiences at them. That’s all about to change. We have a dozen or so events coming up and plan to list them all here: http://authentise.com/news/events/. Maybe we’ll even publish some of our decks etc.

We’ve made a start with the October events, but there’s more to come. So keep on checking back, and let us know if you’re going to be in the area.