The company’s new hardware represents an automated process that efficiently prints high-resolution text, graphics and bar codes directly onto bags, ready for shipping. Utilizing the firm’s latest technology, its clients could now be able to accelerate their existing processes, by scaling them from costly manual post-processing into automated production lines.
“The beating heart of the AM-Flow ‘stack’ is AM-VISION, which uses 3D shape recognition to enable rapid and reliable identification of 3D printed parts based on their geometry,” said Carlos Zwikker, COO of AM-Flow.
What AM-Flow has to offer
Founded in 2018, AM-Flow is based in the Dutch cities of Amsterdam and Eindhoven. The firm specializes in 3D printing post-processing and factory automation services and offers a combination of hardware and MES software products, that aim to provide clients with an ‘end-to-end’ automated production line.
Currently, the firm provides several services such as AM-VISION which is a software that can identify parts based on geometric unique fingerprints in 0.2 seconds. AM-SORT meanwhile, works with AM-VISION to form a complete 3D printing sorting station. AM-VISION provides identification whilst AM-SORT makes sure the objects are directed to the next process step.
After the former processes have been completed, AM-PICK offers a gripper technology to limits the human involvement of 3D printed parts and ensure they are handled with care. However, AM-ROUTE is known as a self-sufficient mobile robot that reduces transportation costs and machine idle time. The final step is called AM-PACKAGE and relies on auto-boxing technology that challenges shipping industry challenges. Throughout, AM-EXPERT will provide support and analysis of the potential improvement of designs.
Previously, the company used AM-VISION software to apply its knowledge of 3D shape identification, machine vision and artificial intelligence.
Earlier this year, 3D printing service provider Oceanz announced its partnership with AM-Flow to develop a fully automated additive manufacturing production line. AM-Flow’s new software led to Oceanz automating several post-processing steps which reduced the time spent on the analogue manual process
The company’s launch of AM-BAGGING is set to follow in the footsteps of its AM-VISION prototype, which it released at Formnext in 2018, and AM-SORT in 2019. Given that AM-Flow was crowned the winner of the Formnext Start-up Challenge in 2020, this year’s virtual Formnext release could represent a particularly significant one.
“We’re delighted to be introducing AM-BAGGING at Formnext Connect, a module that – as its name suggests – provides fully automated bagging and labelling capabilities to AM environments,” said Zwikker. “The new solution perfectly bridges between AM-pick and AM-Route and exemplifies our continued quest to provide a full ‘end-to-end’ post-processing solution to manufacturers and service bureaus.”
Formnext Connect and COVID-19
3D printing enthusiasts have been urged to book their tickets online in anticipation for the first-ever virtual Formnext event. The digitalised event has been renamed Formnext Connect but will still follow its longstanding structure of conferences, keynotes, showcases, challenges, awards ceremonies and webinars for a variety of industry topics and trends.
However, the virtual event aims to provide a comprehensive exhibitor and product presentation platform for both veterans and newcomers in the additive manufacturing industry.
Additionally, the 2020 edition of the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) has been cancelled for the first time since WWII. The event was scheduled to take place on the 14-19 September 2020 but IMTS Network and Spark events swapped the physical gathering for a live stream to ensure the health and safety of its exhibitors and audience.
Software automation in 3D printing
Over the years, several firms have implemented software automation into the line-up of its services.
Last year, EOS a leading German 3D printer OEM, and UK-based software company AMFG, announced a partnership to enable streaming and connectivity for EOS machines through AMFG’s Manufacturing Execution System (MES) automation software. In order to create a fully connected and automated additive manufacturing workflow users of EOS 3D printers, can manage the entire additive manufacturing workflow through the MES software from AMFG.
Elsewhere, researchers from the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) and the Medical University of Graz in Austria manufactured an automated system for the cranial implant (cranioplasty) design. The program relied on a deep learning algorithm that automatically restores the missing part of a skull.
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Feature Image shows automation hardware. Photo via AM-Flow.