Sigma Labs, the Santa Fe-based additive manufacturing software developer, has announced a new edition of its PrintRite3D quality assurance software, known as the Production Series. The company has also announced that it has been awarded two U.S. patents for its PrintRite3D software.
A key feature of the PrintRite3D Production Series centers on the introduction of a ‘Production Dashboard’. The dashboard provides production managers with critical metrics, insight and actionable information during the metal additive manufacturing process. “Sigma Labs has a rich history of innovation,” comments Mark K. Ruport, Executive Chairman of Sigma Labs. “PrintRite3D Production Series is the culmination of years of internal research and development and radical collaboration with our customers.”
“We believe it will be seen as a major advancement for the additive manufacturing industry just as 3D printing of metal parts will be tested and challenged to fulfill the promise of being the next revolution in manufacturing.”
PrintRite3D quality assurance software
Sigma Labs’ PrintRite3D product is an in-process quality assurance (IPQA) software package for metal additive manufacturing. It is composed of hardware and multi-sensor modules and various software modules for additive manufacturing quality assurance and in-process monitoring. Combined, they collect and process data which users can analyse and inspect, in real-time, and implement corrections if necessary.
The software is responsible for analyzing thermal signatures to monitor the quality of 3D printed parts while they are being fabricated. Users are therefore provided with real-time, layer by layer melt pool analytics of the component. They can also choose to stop production of the part prior to its completion when a defect is detected, thus saving on time and material costs. The result is an overall reduced error rate and higher yields.
Machine agnostic, PrintRite3D can run on many major brands of metal 3D printers, providing a standardized quality assurance process throughout a supply chain integrating 3D printers from different manufacturers.
Sigma Labs’ new patents for its PrintRite3D software refers to ‘Systems and Methods for Additive Manufacturing Operations‘, and ‘Systems and Methods for Measuring Radiated Thermal Energy During an Additive Manufacturing Operation.’ Granted on March 10, 2020 and March 9, 2020 respectively, the newly awarded patents brings Sigma Labs’ intellectual property portfolio to 11 issued and 24 pending patents.
Recently, Sigma Labs signed a contract to implement its PrintRite3D software at Northwestern University. Integrated on a DMG Mori LASERTEC12 SLM machine, its melt pool analysis capabilities will be leveraged by Northwestern University’s Northwestern Initiative on Manufacturing Science and Innovation (NIMSI) and Center for Hierarchical Materials Design (CHiMaD).
Last year Sigma Labs also announced a collaboration with international aerospace company Airbus to test and evaluate metal additive manufacturing for serial production of printed parts in the aerospace industry using PrintRite3D software.
Additionally, in the last month Sigma Labs also signed a joint sales agreement with Belgium headquartered Materialise, advancing an earlier MoU to develop an integrated in-situ quality assurance system for metal 3D printing.
PrintRite3D Production Series
The new PrintRite3D Production Series introduces a number of features to the software through the inclusion of the Production Dashboard. This includes Automated In-process Quality Metric (IPQM) based alerts, which allows production managers to use custom metric thresholding for part and process quality decision making. This can help to improve manufacturing efficiency by providing critical information, like part yield predictive performance, in real-time.
IPQM, developed with machine learning algorithms using micro CT-based on standard additive defects, is capable of identifying known porosity modes such as, Lack of Fusion, Key Hole, Spherical Porosity and Foreign Inclusions. The Production Dashboard provides high resolution IPQM forensic analysis in 3D for part anomaly investigation, allowing process engineers to gain deeper understandings of defects and begin continuous process improvement.
Finally, the PrintRite3D Production Series can also be used remotely by production managers and operators to monitor, analyze and intervene in real time production from any location.
“Bringing Sigma’s technology down to the manufacturing floor to be used by production managers to monitor the 3D printing process is a major step forward for the AM industry,” commented Dr. Prveen Bidare, Technical Research Officer in Hybrid Manufacturing at the University of Birmingham. “PrintRite3D Production Series addresses one of the critical barriers of the industrialization of additive manufacturing and puts highly sophisticated tools in the hands of the printer operators.”
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Featured image shows Sigma Labs PrintRite3D printed test gears. Photo by Michael Petch