Oqton, a subsidiary of 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), announced that it is expanding the software it offers through the Altair Partner Alliance (APA) to include 3DXpert and 3DXpert DfAM (Design for Additive Manufacturing). This means that users of Altair’s advanced computer-aided engineering (CAE) products can now access these design tools for 3D printing, advancing the relationship between additive manufacturing (AM) and design software. simulation.
Altair users can access 3D print build preparation software
When acquired by 3D Systems, Oqton, a developer of production automation software, became the broader division responsible for the 3D printer manufacturer’s software tools. This includes 3DXpert, used to quickly translate a CAD model into a 3D printable part. 3DXpert DfAM builds on this capability by introducing methods to take advantage of the unique design possibilities of 3D printing (e.g. lightweight parts).
Altair is known for its CAE tools, especially simulation, high performance computing, data analysis and artificial intelligence. APA members can now download 3DXpert and 3DXpert DfAM on demand, as they can with other APA partner solutions. The software is available through the Mechanical Engineer, Multiphysics/Mecatronics Engineer (MME), and Enterprise suites within the Altair Units licensing pools.
This means that when an engineer simulates a part for additive manufacturing, they can take advantage of 3DXpert and 3DXpert DFAM features such as:
- Prepare for construction in a real CAD environment, including the use of multiple geometry definitions, as well as feature registration and repeatability.
- Lightweight part to improve functional properties, reduce material and reduce printing time.
- Built-in structure and thermal simulation in the design environment to predict, compensate and correct printing errors.
- Cut for a variety of 3D printers, with printing strategies optimized for different areas of the model, such as variable wall thickness, laser settings, and printing without support structures.
“3DXpert offers a host of benefits that allow companies to innovate, improve efficiency and reduce costs when building AM applications,” said Roy Sterenthal, vice president of software at Oqton. “The software maintains the integrity of native CAD files, which reduces the risk of errors often encountered with STL data. Additionally, it adds capabilities for working with implicit modeling and conformal lattice structures that rely on mathematical functions to design extremely complex geometries, allowing users to create new parts not possible with traditional technologies. We are excited to bring 3DXpert and 3DXpert DfAM directly to Altair customers, helping them improve their workflows and accelerate innovation.
“3DXpert is manufacturing software, built on top of a CAD core, but managing implicit representations, as well as mesh and voxel data,” said Myriam Mouyal, vice president of strategic relationships, Altair. “This enables frictionless implementation in any type of AM design and production process. We are pleased to extend our partnership with Oqton, enabling APA users to reduce their print failure rates through parametric build preparation and integrated process simulation.
3D printing, simulation and CAD merge
The news represents an important trend happening in 3D printing, CAD and simulation. Simulation is increasingly crucial to ensure that models are printable the first time, reducing material waste and its associated cost, while optimizing machine utilization. This, combined with DfAM design improvements like light weight, allows users to get the most out of 3D printing. Finally, by integrating these tools into native CAD software, the user experience is simplified so that models can be made for AM without leaving the design environment. Overall, this should increase efficiency throughout the workflow from design to production.
We are seeing similar developments across the industry. For example, Stratasys has been working for some time to integrate 3D printing capabilities into native CAD environments, while simulation developer ANSYS has introduced AM simulation software through its 3DSIM acquisition. These are all crucial for the industrialization of 3D printing, as they take an otherwise foreign and expensive technology like AM and make it more efficient and, therefore, cheaper to use. 3D Systems’ purchase of Oqton further reinforces this trend, as the company’s original software was designed to automate all production.
To educate users on 3DXpert, Altair is hosting a webinar titled “Boost 3D Print Designs & Accelerate Time to Market With an Advanced Toolset for Industrial Additive Manufacturing”, scheduled for September 6, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. EST/4:00 a.m. pm Central European Time.
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