With the growing adoption of AM technologies across large organizations, a new challenge has emerged among manufacturers that are shifting production to digital manufacturing. Due to the increasing demand of parts production, it has become too complicated to manage the process without a software solution that covers the end-to-end workflow, from design to final approval. This is why we are hearing more and more about companies that offer AM workflow software, with the understanding that over time, these types of solutions will be essential to streamline the AM production process.
When should you consider integrating AM workflow software?
The decision is affected by several factors, with the main one being the number of parts that are produced on a daily/weekly basis using different AM technologies. The production is possible due to the use of a larger number of 3D printers, in many cases located in different locations, powdered by dozens of users that are looking to enjoy the benefits of fast and agile digital production.
At the point when the management of such processes has reached critical mass, and, moreover, with the shift to digital manufacturing expected to grow even further in the future, a software platform will be the ideal solution for managing and controlling the entire process.
The benefits of AM software
The main advantage of using professional AM software is managing and controlling the entire process within one tool. In practice, it means connecting all an organization’s 3D printers on one platform, thus enabling users to better access and utilize digital manufacturing. When this is the case, there are several benefits, including:
Monitoring orders from quotation all the way through to production.
Increasing efficiency with better traceability, higher machine monitoring and performance, and better production planning.
Better quality assurance, especially when manufacturing is involved.
Reducing human errors throughout the full process.
Once such a tool is integrated, the limitations to accelerating AM are removed and the main element moves to a different key success factor, namely finding the right applications to enable further shifting from traditional manufacturing methods to AM technologies.
Making the first step
Adopting AM workflow software is not something you do overnight. First, it requires the important step of analyzing your current and future bottlenecks to understand if a management software tool can help you solve the challenging you are facing, or if AM workflow software would be an overkill solution for now. It’s recommended to consider using the input of external consulting firms that can offer an outside perspective, bringing essential experience and knowledge to the table to tailor the right solution for each organization according to its specific needs.