Materialize (Nasdaq: MTLS) has purchased additive manufacturing (AM) software company Identify3D and will integrate its safety features into its own recently launched CO-AM platform. The company hopes to improve the safety, integrity and quality of 3D printing for itself and for the industry as a whole. To find out more, we spoke to Vishal Singh, founder of Link3D and, now, senior director of the CO-AM platform.
Improve safety, integrity and quality of 3D printing
Using encryption, Identify3D traces and guarantees the integrity of 3D printed parts. Additionally, the software ensures that the correct material and parameter information is distributed with the build file. With this in mind, Materialize believes that more companies will be able to exchange files without fear that they will be hacked, modified or counterfeited in some way. Additionally, it aims to bring this integrity to its cloud-based CO-AM platform, which provides companies with a solution for manufacturing, analyzing and processing 3D printed parts.
In a press release, Materialize CEO Fried Vancraen explained the need for file security in AM, saying, “We believe the factory of the future will not be a single, central location. of this, future manufacturing, enabled by smart technologies like 3D printing, will take place in multiple digital production sites, spread around the world, closer to customers. But this will only be possible when companies are sure that their design and production data remain secure.This acquisition allows manufacturers to secure the flow of digital parts and maintain a competitive advantage.
Joe Inkenbrandt, CEO of Identity3D, echoed this sentiment: “At the center of a digital supply chain is the movement of valuable data, from design to manufacturing. Our mission has always been to ensure the security and integrity of this data.The integration of our software into the Materialize CO-AM platform allows us to fully unleash its potential and offer customers the security and control of their data in a way never seen before. in industry.
Vishal Singh speaks
Vishal Singh was able to discuss the acquisition in more detail. Singh is keen to integrate the digital thread and make Materialize tools accessible for manufacturing. For this, he explained the challenge of sharing the expertise of operators digitally:
“With CO-AM, we try to plan, do and check. We look at costing, quoting, planning, scheduling, post-processing and a verification phase for QMS and QA. But, a plan-do-and-hell phase isn’t good enough without learning. For example, operator knowledge is invaluable, there is an enormous amount of knowledge in the operator’s head. But, how do we get this knowledge and make it shareable? How can we track, trace and consolidate all of our software solutions into one ecosystem?
He then explained how third-party applications can augment the capabilities of the CO-AM platform and, therefore, 3D printing in general.
“We hope to enable customers to speed up the production of additives and have a better return on investment. We do this through our connected ecosystem, which also has an app store, with which third parties build software, just like Castor and AM-Flow,” Singh said. Castor is unique software designed to identify 3D printable parts in a company’s inventory, while AM-Flow is a developer of 3D printing automation solutions.
Speaking more specifically about Identity3D’s role within CO-AM and AM in general, Singh suggested that security will make it easier for users to scale their 3D printing capabilities.
“Due to systemic shocks, war and supply chain disruptions, people are turning more to additive and additive management. CO-AM, enables distributed manufacturing,” Singh said. “We are truly there for the people who are scaling AM in-house and scaling third-party sourcing. With us, they can now ensure quality, security and integrity. The acquisition of Identify3D enables CO-AM to become the most secure platform to grow your business in. Overall, this will improve the security of our [CO-AM] Platform. In addition, it will help to securely manage and control third-party data. Data security and integrity management is important.
However, Identify3D goes beyond just security features. According to Singh, the software will also improve the overall quality of a 3D printing operation. This therefore extends to the qualification of a production process and parts, especially for industries where traceability standards are essential. He explained:
“Another key challenge is if a company qualifies a build internally, how they then communicate that data with external parties. How do we know the printer is using the same settings? In some cases the build file is controlled by the printer. In other cases, the settings are made on demand. We help provide the settings and the build file. We don’t just transfer data. We help you manage your recipe in a compliant and traceable. We see that outsourcing is happening more and more. More and more companies also have mixed environments, where they produce internally and externally. We can feed these different factory workflows, by internally and externally, securely.¨
Singh was able to tell us exactly how Materialize will move forward with CO-AM. In particular, he talked about the software’s ability to connect to a company’s existing software tools, as well as the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in CO-AM.
“We want to eliminate artificial rigidity in the ecosystem, work in depth with hardware and software providers to make everything smoother. We will have a modular system very open to integration with PLM, ERP and MES, with connectors We believe that better software will lead to capacity expansion and a better return on investment for the industry,” Singh said. “We also have a learning component that can enable companies to improve. We believe in a layer of machine learning on top of the data. Combining operator insights with expert-based rules and AI components will allow us to make more recommendations for improvement similar to how Spotify makes music recommendations for you.¨
With this latest development, not only is Materialize advancing its CO-AM platform, but we are seeing the broader AM industry align with the trends outlined in the “Automation, additive manufacturing and the factory of the future”SmarTech Analysis report. While automation will of course include new robotic hardware to transport 3D printed parts and powders around a workshop, it will be nothing without a strong software backbone like the one Materialize is building.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Stay up to date on all the latest 3D printing industry news and receive information and offers from third-party vendors.