Global science-based company and material producer DSM recently presented a digital platform for additive manufacturing at Formnext 2019. The digital workflow, developed with six start-up partners as part of DSM’s I AM Tomorrow challenge, seeks to fill a gap in the additive manufacturing value chain in the screening, design, and simulation steps, and increase the technology’s adoption.
Development of the workflow platform has been ongoing for the past three months alongside additive manufacturing software start-ups Authentise, Additive Flow, Ecochain, iPoint, Neural Concept, and nTopology. DSM aims to develop a commercially viable version of its digital platform in the near future.”At DSM, we want to remove common barriers to the adoption of 3D printing. A digital platform, capable of giving manufacturers a detailed and personalized 3D printing workflow, will remove a lot of the complexity that has crept into the industry in recent years,” commented Hugo da Silva, VP Additive Manufacturing DSM.
“By supporting promising start-ups and working closely together with them and our partners, we are strengthening our 3D printing ecosystem and accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing across the globe.”
Additive manufacturing at DSM
Founded in 1902, DSM operates across the broad spectrum of nutrition, health and materials, however the company maintains a significant footprint within additive manufacturing. As well as producing a wealth of materials for 3D printing, the company continues to collaborate and partner with various companies across the 3D printing value chain, including the likes of Origin, Fortify and Adaptive3D.
DSM has also launched collaborative program designed to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing, known as the Trimax Collective. It offers companies the flexibility to own and invest in 3D printing hardware and materials via a lease scheme, with current members including UK-based industrial 3D printer OEM RPS.
In June 2019, the company announced its I Am Tomorrow Challenge, an acceleration program for start-ups and scaleups focused on data analytics, AI and other advanced software solutions for large-scale 3D printing. Streamlining the 3D printing process flow is highlighted as a goal of the challenge.
DSM extended an invitation to start-ups across the globe to enroll in the accelerator program.It was launched in collaboration with tech start-up accelerator HighTechXL, Sweden-based global technology company Hexagon, and Netherlands based 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker.
Co-creating an AM digital workflow platform for all
A total of 74 applicants participated in the I AM Tomorrow challenge. The six start-ups mentioned above were selected by DSM from the pool of entrants to develop the digital workflow platform that aims to “translates customers’ needs into manufacturing solutions.”
The specific purpose of the digital platform is to help inform manufacturers about the performance, sustainability, and economic viability of additive manufacturing for their specific applications. To do so, the workflow software will leverage application, material, and processing knowledge to support manufacturers in the pre-printing process, which concerns screening, design, and simulation. Other key features of the workflow platform includes a material center, topology optimization, and 3D printing performance and process simulation.
Each of the start-ups participated in the development of the software by drawing on their specific expertise. Authentise, based in California, develops two key software products: the Additive Accelerator, a workflow management engine, and 3DIAX, a modular platform allowing users to build their own workflow software. London-based Additive Flow creates advanced design and production software for materials and geometry, whereas Ecochain, headquartered in Amsterdam, allows a company to measure its environmental impact and take the most effective measures. German software developer iPoint’s solutions allows firms to digitize their product lifecycles and supply chain relationships to support manage compliance, risk, and sustainability. Swiss start-up Neural Concept provides a 3D deep learning software to enhance engineering and accelerate design processes, and New York-based nTopology develops generative design software.
“The I AM Tomorrow challenge is the ninth start-up challenge from DSM, and we have experience nurturing and challenging start-up companies to grow. Through the accelerator program, we get to know the capabilities of the candidates and how they work with other eco-system players, while the start-ups get to know DSM,” explains Pieter Wolters, Managing Director DSM Venturing.
The current iteration of the digital workflow was created with the help of Royal HaskoningDHV, a Dutch-based engineering consultancy. The company acted as a lead customer for the six start-ups as they developed the platform. In the coming months, DSM will seek out new partners to include on the development and validation of its digital workflow platform. By focusing on co-creation, DSM aims to provide a digital platform that is tailored to the needs of businesses of varying sizes, in different sectors, and using different manufacturing processes.
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Featured image shows 3D software. Image via DSM/I AM Tomorrow Challenge.