Additive Manufacturing Collaboration: Ai Build & WEBER Offer Advanced Large-Scale 3D Printing Solutions

Headquartered in London, Ai Build specializes in making manufacturing easier. Setting their sights on collaborating with Germany’s Hans Weber Maschinenfabrik of WEBER Additive—a manufacturer of plastic extrusion machinery for more than a century—the two teams will work together with the common goal of integrating AiSync into their AM systems.

A 3D printing software meant to work with pellet extrusion based large scale 3D printers, AiSync was just released this earlier this year. So far, Ai Build reports that clientele developing applications in design, construction, and automotive industries are using the software while engaged in fabricating large-scale products.

Ai Build and WEBER will be offering an advanced additive manufacturing package for industrial users 3D printing with engineering-grade polymers and composites, aiming toward construction, infrastructure, automotive, and aerospace. AiSync is different from typical 3D slicing application, offering the ability to create multi-axis, 3D toolpaths that are non-planar and highly optimized—while requiring little effort or input from the operator.

“We are proud to win with Ai Build a highly innovative, revolutionary partner, who—in conformity with us—pursue their vision courageously, with strong goal orientation and focus on ground-breaking success. With the combined expertise of the two companies in complex software (AiSync) and high-quality mechanical engineering, we will be able to offer strong, unbeatable complete solutions for future-oriented additive manufacturing and thus exceed limits, according to the motto: ‘To want the impossible is the prerequisite for creating the possible’ (Karl Liebknecht),” states Markus Weber, executive board of Hans Weber Maschinenfabrik.

Ai Build’s digital twin capabilities for remote operation and machine learning algorithms for automated quality control combined with WEBER Additive’s robust and high throughput 3D printing hardware is aimed to reduce operational costs and accelerate mass adoption of additive manufacturing in construction, infrastructure, automotive and aerospace industries.

“We are very excited to announce this strategic alliance. Weber’s products are known for their high quality by tradition and their ethos are perfectly aligned with our vision for flawless automation. Working with such strong industrial partners allows us to break new grounds in additive manufacturing and deliver the most advanced technology to our clients,” said Daghan Cam, CEO of Ai Build.

If you are in attendance at the K2019—a trade fair for plastics and rubber in Düsseldorf, Germany—running from October 16-23, check out the Ai Build – WEBER Additive booth. The two companies will also be in attendance at Formnext in Frankfurt from November 19-22. Hans Weber Maschinenfabrik will be presenting new extruder technology, along with the new AM machine using AiSync. Products 3D printing during this new collaboration will be on display also.


Ai Build has continued on as a dynamic presence in the 3D printing world, involved in other collaborations for large-scale 3D printing and development in materials and sustainability. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at

[Source / Images: Weber Additive]

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Altair debuts Inspire Studio and Inspire Render for optimized 3D modeling

Altair, a Michigan-based cloud solutions and software provider, has launched a new 3D design and rendering platform, Altair Inspire Studio. A 3D rendering and animation software, Inspire Render, is also included in this launch which builds upon the functions of Altair Evolve, a 3D hybrid modeling and rendering suite.  “Inspire Studio will enhance designers’ creativity by letting them drive their designs,” […]

Formlabs Focuses on the Advantages of 3D Printing With the New Form 3

During a recent Formlabs Webinar, growth marketing specialist, Faris Sheikh, performed an engaging live demonstration of the new Form 3 Stereolithography (SLA) printer. For the hundreds of viewers that tuned in on September 26th, the performance of the printing system unveiled some of the advantages inherent in its new features. Everything from a significant improvement in print quality over the previous model, the Form 2, to understanding how low-force SLA can deliver better surface quality and help to get a gentle release once the part is done printing. The Form 3: Live Product Demo webinar is a step-by-step presentation on how to set up and print on the Form 3, walking the audience through the making of a speaker prototype.

Faris Sheikh

You probably read a lot about how the Form 3’s new low-force Stereolithography (LFS) technology is used to create parts that are consistently accurate, with amazing detail and surface finish, every single time. But Sheikh took his audience on a dive into the technology behind the Form 3, talking about what makes it special, helping potential users to understand the new print process and learn how to use it to avoid lead times.

Formlabs has been creating reliable, accessible printing systems for professionals for the last decade, ever since Max Lobovsky, CEO and Co-Founder of Formlabs decided it was time to tackle the $80,000 industrial SLA machine industry and turn it into something really affordable, easy to use and desktop-friendly. So Stereolithography has been the company’s forte since 2011, and the Form 3 is already the fourth iteration of the original Form machine. Over 50,000 of the company’s printers are used across the world in so many different brands, from Gilette to Disney, Boeing, New Balance, Amazon, Sony, and Google, just to name a few of the most known ones out there. And they really keep count of the parts being printed with their machines, which up to now its something like 40 million, but they expect that number to go up quickly with the new Form 3 and another version which is bigger, called the Form 3L.

“Our goal with the Form 3 was to reduce the peel force that is common in all SLA technologies and can have some negative consequences on printing processes. So to come up with LFS, this powerful form of SLA technology that decreases the forces of the peel process, we came up with two new features: a flexible tank and a light processing unit,” outlined Sheikh.

The face of the tank is made of a flexible film and reduces print forces to deliver high quality and printer reliability so that when the part comes out it is with a gentle release compared to traditional SLA. Sheikh explained that the company tested the peel forces and determined that there was a ten-time reduction on the Form 3, compared to its predecessor Form 2. That is a significant improvement between printer models. He also suggested that the flexible tank will impact on the surface finish, making it “incredible” as they say, and allow for a faster clean up and finishing after the parts are done the printing. 

Steve Jobs sculpture designed by Sebastian Errazuriz, 3D printed in White Resin powered by the low-force tech of the Form 3

“Incredible surface finish is the result of good layer registration, that is, how accurately each layer is aligned with the previous layer. The more accurately they are aligned, the better surface finishes you will have as well as more translucent and clear parts. The greater sharpness in the edges is ideal for the jewelry industry which usually looks for delicate feature-capability and fine level of detail. While the bio and medical industry can benefit from models that will look so much more representative of what they are trying to do.”

Comparing DNA Helix models printed in Clear Resin in the Form 2 and Form 3 (clear and translucent)

The company suggests that 47% of Form 2 users said removing supports where their biggest pain points, while 62% said Formlabs could improve their machines to make the finishing process easier. So Formlabs developed the LFS which allows for easy support removal thanks to tiny touchpoints, or what Sheikh called “light-touch support” that can easily tear away so that being able to just pop off the part becomes a real improvement for users. 

Light-touch support structures on the Form 3 leave behind four times less support material than supports printed on Form 2

“If you can finish faster and have a faster clean up it means that you have more time to work on the printing process and spend more time on the product. We want to make your life easier so you don’t have to worry about the printing process.”

Sheikh preparing to print on the Form 3

The printing process with the Form 3 is simple, the user picks any of more than 20 material options from Formlabs, then prepares the design (Sheikh did it using the PreForm software, a free tool offered by the company), print the part and then wash and cure it (done on the FormWash and FormCure machines). The printing of the chosen speaker model by Sheikh takes six hours, but the preparation and post-processing can all be done in just over 30 minutes. 

The speaker prototype printed on the Form 3

Sheikh shows how simple it is to use the PreForm software, which has automatic algorithms and helps the user orient the part and generates the supports with just one click. And since the part is going to be printed upside down, it needs supports layer by layer. Then, the print file is sent wirelessly to the printer and it starts printing. Since it takes six hours to print a prototype speaker of 753 layers, the printer will send a text message when it’s ready.

Considering the webinar is less than an hour long, Sheikh shows his audience how easy it is to release the part from the supports once it’s done, with another part that was already done printing.

“Taking off the supports is so simple with LFS, you can easily twist and all the supports come off in one second.”

Formlabs aims to create easy-to-use printers. Sheikh claims that Form 3 is an accessible machine, coming up to $3,500, with an industrial quality that can produce strong parts, making it an ideal successor to Form 2. Formlabs is looking to, not just create a very popular desktop SLA machine, but build a whole culture of innovation, impacting entire teams, enabling anyone to tackle their design, building machines that work remotely so that the printing process is easy and becoming a leading force in many industries.

[Images: Formlabs]

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Coding for 3D Part 4: Rhino, Grasshopper and Weaverbird Setup


After doing research on how we are going to attack this series with our toolbox of resources, we are setting up our environment for exploration. Setting up the build environment is simple enough, but it is vital. Even with our build environment, there are specific subtle things we need to do for our purposes of creation. We will go through some of these items in this article while highlighting some other integral parts.

Firstly we need to download Rhino for our modeling purposes. To do so check out this link for a free 90 day trial version of Rhino. After going through the download instructions, we can now use Rhino. When I first opened Rhino, frankly I was intimidated. I have used various 3D modeling environments and software, but Rhino’s interface is a lot to handle. No disrespect to Rhino as a package as it is great, but it seems to have a steep learning curve. It has various plugins and tools ready for your disposal. Something important to remember is that having various tools is often not the best route when building anything. This is a methodology I take in terms of technical project building as well as physical product manufacturing. My goal with Rhino is to build parametric designs through coding, so I have a precise route to learning. This allows me to get to the meat of what I want to do quickly. I would not benefit from a large overview of Rhino at this point. A lot of what Rhino has tool wise does look intriguing, but we will stay focused when using it. Otherwise our curiosity may let us stray from our path to getting things done.

Download Window for Rhinoceros

The biggest advantage of Rhino is the number of plugins available for it. These plugins are the essence of utility. We will focus on two plugins for Rhino in this series. The first plugin of interest to use is Grasshopper. Grasshopper is an algorithmic modeling plugin for Rhino. It uses a visual programming language vs. a typical text-based coding language. It also gives you the ability to reference geometrical objects from Rhino. The ability to create intriguing geometry quickly and with comparative ease is the main benefit of Grasshopper.

Grasshopper Build Environment

The second plugin of choice for us is Weaverbird. Weaverbird is a topology based modeler. It gives a designer the ability to make known subdivisions and transformation operators. This plugin allows us to automate subdivisions and reconstructing of shapes. It is a great plugin due to its ability to help in fabrication as well as rapid prototyping of ideas.


Something I appreciate from Rhino is how extensive the program is from just looking at it briefly. Various software packages I have used are expansive, but Rhino seems to take things to a different level. The mind of an architect is very expansive, so their tool of choice needs to have various tools within its utility belt. I am excited to somewhat learn the mindset of an “architect” through operating in this program.

For the next installment of this series, we will try to make a simple 2D parametric design that can be extruded into 3D form. I realize the importance of 2D drawing and going to the 3D level as it makes product creation much easier. It flows better and it makes the ability to iterate more intuitive. So look out for that in our next article.

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3D Printing News Briefs: October 6, 2019

We’ve got lots of material news for you in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, starting with a Material Development Kit from RPS. Polymaker and Covestro are releasing three new materials and EOS has introduced a new TPU material for industrial 3D printing. Moving on, CASTOR and Stanley Black & Decker used EOS 3D printing to reduce costs and lead time, and Velo3D is partnering with PWR to make high performance heat exchangers.

RPS Introduces Material Development Kit for NEO800

UK 3D printer manufacturer RPS just launched its NEO Material Development Kit, which was designed by company engineers to be used as a polymer research and development tool for its NEO800 SLA 3D printer. The MDK comes in multiple platform and vat sizes, and allows developers to work with different resin formulations, so that R&D companies can work to develop a range of polymers that are not available in today’s industry. Users can print single layer exposure panes with Titanium software and the 1 liter vat in order to find the photo-speed of the formulation they’re developing; then, tensile testing of different material formulations can commence. Once this initial testing is finished, developers can scale up to the 13 liter vat – perfect for 3D printing prototype parts for use in optimizing final configuration settings.

“This NEO Material Development Kit now opens the door for large industrial chemical companies such as BASF, DSM and Heinkel to push the boundaries of UV photopolymers,” said David Storey, the Director of RPS. “The industry is looking for a quantum jump in materials to print end-user production parts from the stereolithography process.”

New Polycarbonate-Based Materials by Polymaker and Covestro

Advanced 3D printing materials leader Polymaker and polymer company Covestro are teaming up to launch three polycarbonate-based materials. These versatile new materials coming to the market each have unique properties that are used often in a variety of different industries.

The first is PC-ABS, a polycarbonate and ABS blend which uses Covestro’s Bayblend family as its base material. Due to its high impact and heat resistance, this material is specialized for surface finishings such as metallization and electroplating, so it’s good for post-processing work. Polymaker PC-PBT, which blends the toughness and strength of polycarbonate with PBT’s high chemical resistance, is created from Covestro’s Makroblend family and performs well under extreme circumstances, whether it’s subzero temperatures or coming into contact with hydrocarbon-based chemicals. Finally, PolyMax PC-FR is a flame retardant material that’s based in Covestro’s Makrolon family and has a good balance between safety and mechanical performance – perfect for applications in aerospace motor mounts and battery housings.

EOS Offers New Flexible TPU Material

In another materials news, EOS has launched TPU 1301, a new flexible polymer for industrial, serial 3D printing. Available immediately, this thermoplastic polyurethane has high UV-stability, great resilience, and good hydrolysis resistance as well. TPU materials are often used in applications that require easy process capabilities and elastomeric properties, so this is a great step to take towards 3D printing mass production.

“The EOS TPU 1301 offers a great resilience after deformation, very good shock absorption, and very high process stability, at the same time providing a smooth surface of the 3D printed part,” said Tim Rüttermann, the Senior Vice President for Polymer Systems & Materials at EOS. “As such the material is particularly suited for applications in footwear, lifestyle and automotive – such as cushioning elements, protective gears, and shoe soles.”

You can see application examples for TPU 1301 at the EOS booth D31, hall 11.1, at formnext in Frankfurt next month, and the material will also be featured by the company at K Fair in Dusseldorf next week.

CASTOR, Stanley Black & Decker, and EOS Reduce Costs and Lead Time

Speaking of EOS, Stanley Black & Decker recently worked with Tel Aviv startup CASTOR to majorly reduce the lead time, and cost, for an end-use metal production part that was 3D printed on EOS machinery. This was the first time that 3D printing has been incorporated into the production line of Stanley Engineered Fastening. In a CASTOR video, EOS North America’s Business Development Manager Jon Walker explained that for most companies, the issue isn’t deciding if they want to use AM, but rather how and where to use it…which is where CASTOR enters.

“They have a very cool software in which we can just upload the part of the assembly CAD file, and within a matter of minutes, it can automatically analyze the part, and give us the feasibility of whether the part is suitable for additive manufacturing or not. And in case it is not suitable, it can also let us know why it is not suitable, and what needs to be changed. It can also tell us what is the approximate cost, which material and printer we can use,” said Moses Pezarkar, a Manufacturing Engineer at Stanley’s Smart Factory, in the video.

To learn more, check out the case study, or watch the video below:

PWR and Velo3D Collaborating on 3D Printed Heat Exchangers

Cooling solutions supplier PWR and Velo3D have entered into a collaborative materials development partnership for serial manufacturing of next-generation heat exchangers, and for the Sapphire metal 3D printer. PWR will be the first in the APAC region to have a production Sapphire machine, which it will use to explore high-performance thermal management strategies through 3D printing for multiple heat exchange applications. Together, the two companies will work on developing aluminum alloy designs with more complex, thinner heat exchange features.

“PWR chose Velo3D after extensive testing. The Velo3D Sapphire printer demonstrated the ability to produce class-leading thin-wall capabilities and high-quality surfaces with zero porosity. Velo3D and PWR share a passion for pushing the limits of technology to deliver truly disruptive, class-leading, products. We are a natural fit and look forward to building a strong partnership going forward,” said Matthew Bryson, the General Manager of Engineering for PWR.

“Heat exchanger weight and pressure-drop characteristics have a huge impact on performance and are significant factors in all motorsport categories. Using additive manufacturing to print lightweight structures, enhancing performance with freedom-of-design, we have the ability to further optimize these characteristics to the customer’s requirements whilst providing the necessary cooling. The broad design capabilities and extremely high print accuracy of the Velo3D Sapphire 3D metal printer will help us optimize these various performance attributes.”

Discuss these stories and other 3D printing topics at or share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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3YOURMIND challenges physical warehouses with introduction of Digital AM Inventory

German 3D printing software developer 3YOURMIND has launched its Digital AM Inventory module to centralize 3D files and production data. This extension of the 3YOURMIND workflow software aims to simplify production, and create a cost-efficient alternative to physical warehouse storage of parts. The Digital AM Inventory Since 2014, 3YOURMIND has been developing digitized additive manufacturing processes […]

Is Additive Manufacturing’s Future On Track with Process Control Technologies?

We take successful 2D printing for granted in the home or office. Simply press [CTRL+P] and what you see on the computer screen materializes in short order. Achieving the additive manufacturing equivalent of this simple computer command is a lofty goal that remains a central challenge for the broader 3D printing industry. Printing a part […]

What is Metrology Part 23 – Error and Perception

Margin of Error

After a significant amount of time dedicated to this series, I have made some interesting insights.  When you think of metrology and measurement, humans need to understand that we are faulty at what we do. It is difficult to have true precision in measurement. We are prone to error and degrees of various errors. Secondly, no one human has the same perception as another. This leads to various incongruities in the physical realm. We can think in terms of optics, general psychology, and a vast number of phenomena. So how do we escape faulty perception and human error? Well, that seems impossible, but I am going to venture into these topics to show how they affect measurement and metrology as a whole.

Margin of error is a statistic that shows the amount of sampling error due to random occurrences. When we have a large margin of error, there lies less confidence in the data we collect. In reference to metrology, one can think of a scanning system as our measuring apparatus. When operated by a human, various things and random occurrences can affect the margin of error within a laser scan. This can include an unsteady hand when scanning an item. One could also have a slightly unclean lens that may cause distortion within a 3D scan. The movement of a target for 3D scanning may also affect this as well. There are a slew of items that may cause a 3D scan to contain large margins of error.

Act of Perception

Perception is how we organize, identify, and interpret sensory information in order to understand or represent our environment. Perception includes the ability for us to receive signals that go through our nervous system. This results in physical or chemical stimulation of our sensory systems. This allows us to interpret and understand the information we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Examples of this include how vision occurs through light interacting with our eyes, how we are able to use odor molecules to interpret smell, as well as our general ability to detect sound through pressure waves within the air. Perception is denoted by the receiver though. This means their learning, memory, expectation, and attention are vital for how the signals are interpreted.

I bring these things up as it shines a light on a key difference between machines and humans. Machines have less working experience, expectation, and learning compared to humans. Being able to consistently distinguish a watch in 3D form is natural for most humans, but a machine can be thrown off by slight variations in form. A machine automated process may have less error in terms of pure measurement, but the interpretation of the data is still a difficult task for a machine.

Issues of Perception and Metrology

Perception is typically thought of in two forms:

  • Processing an input that transforms into information such as shapes within the field of object recognition.
  • Processing that is interloped with an individual and their own concepts or knowledge. This includes various mechanisms that influence one’s perception such as attention.

Through laser scanning, an individual is able to collect data on a physical product. This data needs interpretation for it to have tangible value. A computer device is not readily able to do so. So metrology is a field based on our innate error and psychology as humans. But that does not mean the field is useless, as we humans have an innate desire to make things quantifiable.

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3DEXPERIENCE Modeling & Simulation Conference: Keynote by Skunk Works & Executive Roundtable

Last week, Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE software company, held the 3DEXPERIENCE Modeling & Simulation Conference in Michigan. I was invited to attend the event, which was held from September 18-19 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

At the first plenary session, keynote speaker Clifton Davies, a Principal Aeronautical Engineer for Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, talked about the defense contractor’s use of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, and its simulation process and design exploration apps, to work on aircraft design for the non-proprietary EXPEDITE project.

Skunk Works began working with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) on the EXPEDITE project in 2017. According to ESTECO, EXPEDITE, which stands for EXPanded MDO for Effectiveness Based DesIgn TEchnologies, is the latest in a series of successful AFRL programs with a goal of advancing “the state-of-the-art of Multi-disciplinary Analysis and Design Optimization (MADO)” for USAF programs. The project aims to rapidly improve early conceptual MDO capabilities for the aerospace industry in several areas, including Effectiveness-Based Design (EBD), high-performance computing, and cost and reliability.

“Whatever your business process is, there’s a good chance it needs high-performance computing,” Davies said.

He explained what EXPEDITE was currently working on, stating that efficiency and support of higher fidelity physics are necessary for the tasks, which included next generation mobility, next generation UAS, and high-speed systems.

In terms of delivering EBD to customers, Davies said that the most important aspect to keep in mind is not how fast or far it can go, but if it finished the job in an affordable way. He said the design process needs to be taken “down into the statistics” to find the answer.

Davies continued, “What’s the probability it can complete the mission?”

Skunk Works wanted to make sure that risk to the USAF was minimal for the project, and wasn’t sure if there was anyone in the MDO framework industry capable of handling it. So the company partnered with Dassault, and several other companies, to determine who could best address the particular challenges of EXPEDITE.

In terms of what the company is using on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, the focus is mainly on MDO tools, such as SIMULIA.

“We’re leveraging SIMULIA apps for creating MDO workflows,” Davies said. “We built the aircraft design workflows for the program using the SIMULIA apps.”

3DEXPERIENCE platform implementations can vary from very large to very small. The EXPEDITE project set up the platform on multiple virtual machines in Palmdale, California and Fort Worth, Texas, so more work could be distributed to more locations.

Davies then showed a slide which illustrated the conceptual design workflow that Lockheed Martin uses for the aircraft elements it’s executing with 3DEXPERIENCE. It’s broken down into multiple activities, based on both where the project might be executed and by which group.

The company has also integrated the V5 version of Dassault’s CATIA software program, and even built on top of it due to “multiple customizations,” which is why the newest version of the software was not used. Because an adapter did not exist, the company had to connect CATIA via COM interface through a VBScript driver they wrote.

But the company really wanted an adapter, and Davies said that Dassault “really came through for us.”

“It [the adapter] supports the normal things you’d expect, but this also supports Macros, which lets you leverage your IP and capability with geometry to get out what you need to do,” Davies explained.

He said that one of the most useful features of the plugin that the CATIA team created for EXPEDITE is a Screen Capture capability: it allows users to see exactly where the process failed, which really helps to reduce run time.

Moving back to computing, Davies said that the next generation of super computers will offer plenty of flexibility in terms of the various 3DEXPERIENCE platforms users can visit.

Davies wrapped up by discussing the company’s lessons learned, next steps, and future needs in terms of 3DEXPERIENCE. He talked about how nice it was to be able to load design data without having to leave the platform, in addition to being able to compare designs in tabular and graphical form, apply constraints, and having opportunities to streamline the user’s post-processing experience.

In closing, Davies said that he encourages Dassault Systèmes to “continue improving ergonomics for debugging models, best practices for large model distribution,” and the overall user experience.

Next up, PLM expert Dr. Michael Grieves, Chief Scientist for Advanced Manufacturing at the Florida Institute of Technology and the father of the digital twin, came onstage to speak for a few minutes before moderating the executive roundtable.

“We’re doing a lot of exciting things,” Dr. Grieves said.

“What I want to talk about is the digital twin – the model I developed.”

He talked about how in the 21st century, we developed 3D models and created a virtual space filled with virtual products – a big change from years past.

“At the beginning, we actually have a digital twin before we have the physical thing,” Dr. Grieves explained. “We really have this digital information that we work on. I like to design, test, make, and support the product virtually, and only when I get it all right do I want to make physical things. Ideally, I’d really like to print it – I think additive manufacturing is really going to change how we manufacture things.”

Then he referred back to the point that Davies had made early on – does the product do its job?

“If we can take the digital twin and test that to destruction, I have a better feel for the fact that it will perform the way it’s supposed to perform in the real world. Digital twins will save us a whole lot of resources,” Dr. Grieves said. “I should be able to predict failures and fix them before they happen.”

The way to do this, he explained, is by doing as much work as possible in advance on the virtual side.

“Industry 4.0 is talking about reducing the time of an event occurring to fixing it. I think about the digital twin as figuring out which events will occur and fixing them before they happen.”

With that, Dr. Grieves introduced the three speakers of the executive roundtable: Philippe Laufer, the CEO of CATIA; David Holman, Vice President R&D and Brand Leader for Dassault’s SIMULIA; and Garth Coleman, the VP of Marketing for Dassault’s ENOVIA.

Coleman was in definite agreement with Dr. Grieves’ thoughts on virtualization.

“We can do the modeling of the experience well before you have the product out in the world. We can innovate around that experience, and include the customer in that experience,” he stated.

“Once you have the real twin, you can connect that data in and refine the product, the experiences, everything.”

In this way, Coleman continued, companies can achieve cost savings, with maximum flexibility, early on in the process.

Then Dr. Grieves asked the experts how they felt about this kind of connectivity – how smart, connected products “fit in to what we do.” Coleman brought up the fact that the IoT and the IIoT are both “generating boatloads of data,” which is interesting for companies to have access to. But, he wondered if customers were using the features in the correct way.

“Being able to be in tune to all the trends and your finicky and satisfied customers is really important,” he said. “But what’s a great experience today – a better one may come along tomorrow.”

Holman chimed in here, stating that the digital twin is a good tool for success, as major challenges companies today face include the demand for increased customization and better quality.

“The only way to keep up is with the true 3DEXPERIENCE digital twin,” Holman said.

Dr. Grieves then asked Laufer for his opinion regarding the 3DEXPERIENCE digital twin.

“All signs show that we are changing the world,” he answered. “Experience is not at the level it should be, so it’s the time for the industry renaissance, and to have the citizen, consumer, and patient at the heart of the experience you’re creating.”

Industry Renaissance [Image: Dassault Systèmes]

Laufer brought up cars, and talked about simply riding in one versus the driving experience; for example, Laufer asked the audience members how many of us were satisfied with our car’s air conditioning. He mentioned that during a recent visit to Boeing, company representatives discussed the flight experience, as opposed to just delivering an airplane, and wanted to know why we weren’t all talking about the Industry Renaissance.

“The new book is the experience,” Laufer stated, quoting Dassault. “We are creating a 3DEXPERIENCE twin. In the virtual world, you can blow on it, push it, pull it.”

Dr. Grieves asked him how we can help customers “bridge the gap” between the physical and virtual worlds. Laufer explained that companies are using cyber systems to create these experiences, and that we have to be able to create, master, and model those systems – after all, when you want to make music, you must first practice the scales. In most companies, a designer creates the concept for a product and passes it on to the analyst engineer, who then runs simulations and sends it back for the changes to be made. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is able to streamline all of these processes.

He asked, “How can you automate if you don’t do it properly in an interactive way?”

Dr. Grieves then brought up how generative design is tied into manufacturing, since we need to be able to create new shapes, and asked Coleman how he feels that it “plays into the classic bill of materials and collaboration.”

“From the ENOVIA side, this is a common thing that everyone wants to achieve – this lack of productivity,” he answered. “The common metric that comes back is 30% – what would you do with 30% of your time back?

“The bill of materials can’t keep up now, it’s too static, it’s too slow,” Coleman continued. “You can’t stimulate and optimize this. So it’s really a report of where you’re at – basically a 2D drawing.”

Turning to Holman, Dr. Grieves asked him where simulation fit.

“Basically, we can provide the tools, the manpower, the signers, and the innovators to build products that behave the way they are intended. This is what we’re bringing together with generative design,” Holman answered.

“In the end, the products we create have to deliver the right experiences to the customers, they have to be sustainable.”

Dr. Grieves then asked Coleman his perspective of where he thought everything in the discussion fit in.

“Requirements are driving everything, including what you do in modeling and simulation,” he said. “A lot of times, these are managed in emails, sticky notes, documents, Excel files, so on. Traditionally, we can do file management, and we do it well. But we need to move past this and start managing the innovation. Extract the important information as data, and connect it.”

Laufer then had the chance to share his views on the matter.

“The challenge engineering teams face is you have a problem in front of you – the topic is to optimize several KPI. How do you model in your current system? We have a way in the platform to follow KPIs while you’re designing and simulating to make sure you’re going in the right direction. This solution will augment the engineering teams by allowing them to explore, and simulate.

“I’m heavily using David’s technology in my CATIA applications,” Laufer continued. “Your role as an engineering team will be to explore, simulate, and optimize – the geometry, material composition, material selection, manufacturing process. This is what the future of engineering is about. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides this integrated environment that lets stakeholders of these decisions play together. 3DEXPERIENCE is multidisciplinary.”

Finally, Dr. Grieves asked each participant what the most important takeaway from the discussion was for the audience to understand. Holman stated that SIMULIA was making some strong investments in order to fulfill the promise of making high fidelity simulation more accessible, which “is gong to be great for all of you.” Coleman explained that ENOVIA is working to optimize things at the business process level, as it concerns “organizing and orchestrating all of this, and being able to modify the plan.”

Laufer said, “Speaking to you as users, your job will evolve. Simulation experts will be able to modify mesh, and work with the designer to propose alternatives. I think there’s going to be a fusion, but don’t be afraid of that.”

Stay tuned for more news from my time at the recent 3DEXPERIENCE Modeling & Simulation Conference!

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[Photos by Sarah Saunders]

The post 3DEXPERIENCE Modeling & Simulation Conference: Keynote by Skunk Works & Executive Roundtable appeared first on | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

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