3D Software

Autodesk becomes founding partner of nFrontier Emerging Technologies Center

Software developer Autodesk has become a founding partner of the nFrontier Emerging Technology Center (EmTeCe) to jointly propel the future of product development and innovation.

Autodesk will supply the center with a multi-design software front end in order to help the EmTeCe achieve its goal of becoming one of Europe’s leading facilities of emerging technologies, including additive manufacturing. 

“At Autodesk, we see the convergence of digital design, visualization and manufacturing enabling people and companies to create better, more sustainable products for their customers and the planet,” said Sualp Ozel, Senior Product Manager of Additive Manufacturing at Autodesk. 

“We believe our contribution to the EmTeCe will serve as an exciting launch pad to successfully introducing leading-edge product innovations enabled by our Advanced Design, Animation and Engineering Software Technology.”

Autodesk will supply its engineering, generative design, manufacturing and animation software to EmTeCe. Photo via Autodesk.
Autodesk will supply its engineering, generative design, manufacturing and animation software to EmTeCe. Photo via Autodesk.

The nFrontier EmTeCe

nFrontier was founded in December 2020 by former executives of the BigRep and NOWLAB leadership team to help companies accelerate the development and launch of their industrial products. Operating out of Berlin as an innovation studio, nFrontier’s A to L operating model is based on four pillars; Analyze, Ideate, Create, and Launch.

Established in August, the EmTeCe aims to serve as a dynamic lab environment for pioneering teams to co-develop previously unseen technical products and services. The facility is seeking to integrate the “Emerging Eight Technologies” under one roof, namely additive manufacturing, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, generative design, drones, and quantum computing. 

Industrial 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys became the first founding member of the EmTeCe in August, supplying a set of its 3D printers that leverage the firm’s core proprietary technologies – FDM, PolyJet, and P3 Programmable Photopolymerization.

In October, robotics firm Franka Emika was announced as the second founding partner of the EmTeCe, committing two of its tactile robots and its latest software platform to nFroniter’s Pioneers Team.

Autodesk will now join both firms as the third founding partner of the center, as the facility bids to become a leading international institution for advanced digital design and product development. 

nFrontier's Emerging Technology Center team.
nFrontier’s Emerging Technology Center team. Photo via nFrontier.

Supplying an advanced software front end

Upon becoming a founding member of the EmTeCe, Autodesk will supply the center with its latest engineering, generative design, manufacturing and animation software, such as Fusion 360, to form a multi-design software front end.  

These advanced design and engineering software programs will play a key role in new product creation at the center, and will be used by nFrontier’s Pioneers Team and its partners and clients to create novel new products and process workflows. 

Through implementing the software front end, the EmTeCe hopes to enable its customers to create previously unseen or unimaginable products and technologies that can be directly streamlined to any manufacturing device, such as 3D printers or tactile robots. 

“Advanced design, engineering, and animation software plays a key role within our orchestra of the ‘Emerging Eight Technologies’ within the EmTeCe – it is the creative front end that is needed to feed our production technologies with unseen designs,” said Daniel Buening, nFrontier’s CEO. “We are very proud to welcome Autodesk as one of our Founding Partners and are looking forward to exploring the full potential of their cutting edge software technology within our innovation projects.

“This commitment also shows the visionary mindset at Autodesk in shaping the future of impact-driven product innovation enabled by technology convergence.”

Stratasys was the first founding member of the EmTeCe. Photo via nFrontier.
Stratasys was the first founding member of the EmTeCe. Photo via nFrontier.

Centers advancing AM

In addition to the EmTeCe, there are multiple centers focused on accelerating 3D printing and advanced manufacturing in order to open up new product and technology possibilities for companies and institutions.

One such well-known center is ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE), which signed a cooperative agreement worth $750,000 with NASA last year to identify potential 3D printing projects. The AM CoE was established in 2018 to effectively conduct strategic R&D into qualifying additive manufacturing processes, and its partners include the likes of engineering firm EWI, research groups from NIAR, the MTC, and Auburn University, and NAMIC.

Elsewhere, the recently launched Digital Manufacturing Centre (DMC) in Silverstone Park has become the first in the UK to offer silicone additive manufacturing (SAM) to its customers. The 2,000 square meter production facility is seeking to serve the high-volume production needs of industrial customers across a wide array of industries, making use of AMFG’s full suite Manufacturing Execution System (MES).

In Singapore, Siemens’ has opened its Advance Manufacturing Transformation Center (AMTC) which aims to become a one-stop advanced manufacturing ecosystem helping companies in the region transition their production processes to 3D printing and Industry 4.0. 

More recently, there have been a plethora of new 3D printing facilities being established to aid the technology’s advancement and accessibility for companies of all sizes. 

In the last couple of months alone, Stryker has established the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) to accelerate R&D across Australia, BASF’s Forward AM has opened a new Additive Manufacturing Applications Technology Center (ATC) in Detriot with Michigan State University to foster 3D printing innovation with its North American customers, and Morf3D announced a new technology development partnership with EOS at its Applied Digital Manufacturing Center (ADMC) in California.

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Featured image shows Autodesk will supply its engineering, generative design, manufacturing and animation software to EmTeCe. Photo via Autodesk.