Independent and capable of Action in the Crisis: Self-sufficient Supply Chains through Additive Manufacturing


Independent and capable of Action in the Crisis: Self-sufficient Supply Chains through Additive Manufacturing

To remain independent and capable of acting in crises now and in the future, 3D printing is the ideal solution for flexible manufacturing. In this context, our software tools help with the digital transformation of manufacturing.

The current crisis reveals the weaknesses of global manufacturing networks and their dependence on complex, widely dispersed and vulnerable supply chains. In order to remain independent and able to act in crisis situations now and in the future, 3D printing is the ideal solution for self-sufficient and flexible production. In this context, new software tools help with the digital transformation of manufacturing. In this context, new software tools are helping to digitally transform manufacturing. The new 4D_Additive Software Suite has been raised to the next level to meet the increasing demands of additive manufacturing in terms of production accuracy and automated workflow.

Automated 3D Printing Process

The 4D_Additive Software Suite enables automation of the workflow from the CAD system to print jobs. All functions of the tool can be automated using the system's own script language. The software processes data from common CAD systems as exact B-Rep geometry. This enables the inspection, repair, preparation, and printing of exact 3D models according to CAD engineering standards.

In addition to the new, innovative texture module, the software has repair functions, intelligent alignment of parts, clever nesting functions with multiprocessor calculation and analysis and modeling functions to optimization parts for 3D Printing. For lightweight construction, the software offers functions for hollowing and filling the parts with so-called lattice structures.

Today some Additive manufacturing technologies is already competitive for a small batch production of complex plastic parts. An extensive series production of parts as a bridging scenario is therefore realistic. By building new and by optimizing the collaboration of existing 3D printing resources, in the future this technology can help avoid bottlenecks in the supply chain.

Search Engine for 3D Printed Parts

For companies, the practical test is recommended to examine the potential of 3D printing in the manufacturing process to act autonomously and flexibly in a fragile and disruptively changing environment. Already in the design phase, the new technology offers aspects such as functional integration and integral construction by combining assemblies as well as material-saving lightweight construction themes. The challenge is to identify and automatically filter out the parts and components suitable for the new manufacturing process from the database of 3D models. The Partfinder is a search engine for classifying components based on the geometric properties of the CAD models. The search is based on reading out all information from the CAD file and analyzing the geometry, design history, dimensions, attributes, and tolerances.

Opportunities for the Future

Additive manufacturing in the future is one of the central tools for companies to be independent from external factors. In addition, individualized small series can be implemented cost-effectively in order to also manufacture small batch sizes economically with the new technology. Networking and breathing production, no storage capacity and short transport routes are resource-saving and CO2-reduced manufacturing processes.

The aspect of independence in connection with additive manufacturing has been considered less relevant by industry in the recent past, because globalization seemed to be on the rise and the global networks and their transport routes seemed invulnerable. With Corona companies are currently facing a new situation and as a result "make or buy" in the future will no longer be just a question of price. If you think through the current, possibly replicable situation, for the future it will become more important for companies to consider greater vertical integration, regional supply chains and also modern technologies such as additive manufacturing.

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