3D printing software is impacting almost every industry globally, with its numerous applications and demand growing on a rapid scale. Moreover, the software quickly adapts to the latest technologies, which is another cap in its feather. Let us understand what is trending in the 3D printing software sector and how it is likely to fare in the future.
Latest Trends in the 3D Printing Software Sector
1. Customizing the process
Minimizing the cost required for the customization of products is a key benefit of 3D printing software. So how exactly will this customization help, and how does it work? Firstly, let us clear a few basics. Every process is different when it comes to 3D printing. There is no universal process that suits all. Yes, optimizing the process for mass production would be great; however, to use 3D printing software to the fullest, it is essential to try every change and customization till an optimal process is reached.
2. Need for 3D printing
3D printing software is one of the most scalable, efficient, and consistent software. It plays a key role in almost every process of manufacturing. Many top 3D printing software providers in the market offer products with numerous competitive advantages. For instance, the software can be integrated with the processes required for production planning.
Workflow solutions are also rising; hence, CAD tools are also advancing technologically. With the use of CAD and CAM tools, organizations can cut down on the costs and time required for production. Designs for additive manufacturing will grow rapidly as a result of the numerous applications, low costs, and reliable processes.
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3. Different materials used for different applications
Materials are technologically advancing every as their applications grow. Materials like high-performance plastics and polypropylene are used widely because of their characteristics, especially for powder 3D printing. Along with these materials, composites are also in high demand. Metal AM also witnesses high demand because of its application in the powder production process.
4. Industries to adopt 3D printing on a large scale
3D printing software is widely used across the healthcare, aerospace & defense, agriculture, automotive, industrial, and jewelry industries, among others. It is also likely to gain traction in other industries such as oil & gas, building & construction, and electrical and electronics. The performance of 3D printing software is being enhanced with the use of AI and robotics, which makes it more acceptable in numerous sectors. Thus, demand for software will grow in the coming years.
5. Freedom in product design
The best advantage of 3D printing software is that it gives the professional the liberty to design the product as required. It reduces the cost required for tooling but does not limit creativity. With this freedom, the product can be designed easily in the desired shape, weight, and form. This minimizes the need for large machinery at the manufacturing plant and results in high-quality output.
6. Mass 3D printing a possibility
In today’s world, 3D printing is majorly required for low or medium-volume manufacturing. However, looking at its attributes, there is the possibility of growth in terms of mass production in the future. Numerous technologies will drive this trend in the future, one of which will be metal binder jetting. This technology has a superior printing speed that produces accurate components with metals at a low cost.
7. Data crucial for the repetitive process
Many manufacturing technologies need a complete process to ensure that printing is carried out in time and accurately. There are chances that the process may change from machine to machine as well, as it can be different for different parts. The most efficient way to tackle this situation is to collect the data required for the process. This data can be used in 3D printing to minimize time. Hence, the focus will be on collecting and managing data. To do this, sensors and cameras that measure and analyze several facets of the product in real-time can be used, which helps in the building process. This will create higher process repeatability, eventually making 3D printing the most effective additive manufacturing technology.
Recent Developments in 3D Printing Software Market
Due to increasing competition in the 3D printing software market, companies are either expanding their product base or making changes in their products with the latest technologies. Here are a few recent industry developments and their impact on different verticals.
MAY 2021 – Exone’s binder jet 3D printing technology shakes up automotive tooling
FreeFORM Technologies, a manufacturing service provider, produced lightweight automotive tooling using ExOne’s binder jet 3D printing technology. This complex end-of-arm tooling component uses 17-4PH stainless steel and is designed to be integrated with a six-axis FANUC robot as part of an industrial automation system. ExOne Innovent+ 3D printer enables FreeFORM to reduce manufacturing costs with binder jet while minimizing the weight of the part.
MAY 2021 – Zeiss, Senai, and Petrobras partner to advance oil & gas 3D printing in Brazil
Carl Zeiss, a manufacturer of optical systems, entered into a research partnership with two Brazil-based organizations SENAI and Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras), to advance the use of metal 3D printing technologies in critical oil & gas components. The partnership is aimed at the evaluation of extensive use of two 3D printing technologies i.e., laser powder bed fusion (PBF) and laser-based directed energy deposition (DED), in the oil & gas sector.
MAY 2021 – IBM and Ricoh partner to make 3D printed medical models more accessible
IBM has partnered with US-based digital services firm Ricoh to jointly develop 3D printed anatomical models. IBM iConnect Access, a diagnostic and medical image exchange platform by IBM, will soon be able to 3D print vivid anatomical models using patient medical imaging data directly from the platform itself. This end-to-end feature enables 3D printing technology to be more accessible to the healthcare sector while simplifying the process of generating 3D printed anatomical models.
MAY 2021 – Cellink acquires Nanoscribe for €50m to buy into two-photon polymerization
CELLINK, a Swedish 3D bioprinter manufacturer, acquired Nanoscribe, Two-Photon Polymerization (2PP) 3D printer manufacturer. Cellink has integrated 2PP technology into its own while taking full control of Nanoscribe for the manufacturing of more life-like soft tissues. Its 2PP 3D printing technology enables the production of ultra-detailed miniature structures. This strategic deal will enable Cellink to add 2PP to its portfolio and further strengthen its market-leading position in both, the micro-optics and photonics 3D bio-printing segments.
MAY 2021 – nScrypt releases nStudio machine control software for beta testing
nScrypt has introduced its next-generation 3D printing machine control software, nStudio, for beta testing. nStudio machine control software is used to replace the company’s older editions of software with an improved user-friendliness approach and extra power-packed features. This feature-packed software will make a factory in a tool (fit) 3D manufacturing system more powerful.
MARCH 2021 – Markforged launches new AI-based blacksmith software for 3D printing
Markforged, a US-based metal and composite 3D printer manufacturer, has introduced a new AI-based Blacksmith software for X7 3D printers. Blacksmith allows the Central Tooling Team to confirm the preciseness of parts that are being printed. This will enable accelerated delivery times and ensure that the parts that are printed meet the necessary requirements.
MARCH 2021 – Materialise adds new medical procedure to Mimics Enlight 3D planning software
Materialise, a 3D printing software developer has upgraded its medical 3D planning software, Mimics Enlight, with an additional cardiovascular procedure. Patients can plan for complex left atrial appendage occlusion (LAAO) procedures with Enlight’s 3D environment. This procedure helps medical professionals reduce surgical risk and improve planning efficiency by offering a greater visual method of procedure preparation with 3D models.
FEBRUARY 2021 – Anisoprint launches aura 2.1 with new premium continuous fiber 3D printing features
A manufacturer of continuous fiber 3D printing systems, Anisoprint has introduced a new Aura 2.1 Premium. Aura 2.1 enables users to customize and integrate fiber reinforcements into polymer-based composite components. Aura software is designed to reject a costly and heavy trial-and-error approach to composite 3D printing.
APRIL 2021 – Authentise and Hexagon team up for open end-to-end 3D printing software development
Authentise, a 3D printing software developer, has teamed up with the Manufacturing Intelligence unit of Hexagon AB, a Sweden-based technology company, to develop open end-to-end 3D printing software. The software is designed to fully digitize every step of the 3D printing production workflow in private cloud environments. This partnership will enable the company to quickly respond to customer demand and integrate its unique environments.
FEBRUARY 2021 – 3D Control Systems launches ZAP, a new 3D printing workflow management software
3D Control Systems, a software development company, has introduced ZAP, a new 3D printing workflow management software. ZAP is an AI-powered platform that offers a full suite of production management functionality, including a machine-agnostic MES system, product lifecycle management (PLM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities, quality assurance, and a customer relationship management (CRM) system. This will help manufacturers to reduce operational costs and improve production efficiencies. ZAP claims that it can increase output by 77x with an average return of investment.
NOVEMBER 2020 – Authentise integrates Nebuminds’ digital twin visualization tool into AMES
Authentise, a 3D printing software developer, has partnered with a data visualization and analytics provider, Nebumind, to integrate its digital twin visualization tool into the Authentise Manufacturing Execution System (AMES). This partnership enabled users to easily identify problems of parts in order to ensure less time-intensive inspections while improving accuracy. With this integration, users can obtain sensor data automatically and combine it with the shape being produced.
NOVEMBER 2020 – Siemens partners with Morf3d, Sintavia, and Evolve Additive to advance its Xcelerator software portfolio
Siemens’ Digital Industries Software division partnered with 3D printer producer Evolve Additive, and service bureaus Morf3D and Sintavia, to advance its Xcelerator software portfolio. Through this deal, Siemens introduced Xcelerator support for new additive manufacturing methods. These partnerships enable Siemens to expand its ecosystem for AM technology advancements.
NOVEMBER 2020 – Castor releases new Enterprise industrial 3D printing software for local cost control
CASTOR, a 3D printing software developer, introduced the Enterprise industrial additive manufacturing program for local cost control. The program helps manufacturers to minimize their expenditure using 3D printing software. The tool can automatically identify any cost reduction possibilities in the manufacturing of spare parts or assemblies. It helps to identify the small changes that can have a huge impact on the company’s bottom line.
NOVEMBER 2020 – Nexa3D partners with Castor to launch ‘Ximplify’ cost analysis software for 3D printed parts
Nexa3D, a 3D printer manufacturer, teamed up with CASTOR, a 3D printing software provider, to release new ‘Ximplify’ cost analysis tools for additively created parts. Ximplify includes process and geometry algorithms with validated workflows to identify parts that can be used for 3D printing. Ximplify provides cost advantages to companies seeking to simplify their supply chain by quickly identifying opportunities to move tooled plastic parts to on-site additive polymer production.
NOVEMBER 2020 – Materialise receives CE registration for medical equipment and adds build processor functionality for Desktop Metal Binder Jetting technology
Materialise, a Belgian software and 3D printing service provider, partnered with a metal 3D printing company, Desktop Metal, to support its Binder Jetting technologies. The partnership covers Desktop Metal’s Shop System and Production System platforms, which help companies regulate their 3D printing operations by offering simplified end-to-end workflows. The partnership enables Materialise to provide support to its next-generation Build Processor strategy and removes the barriers to the adoption of 3D printing as part of a connected industrial manufacturing process.
NOVEMBER 2020 – Stratasys and nTopology partners to develop DfAM software for jigs and fittings
Stratasys, a 3D printer firm, partnered with nTopology, an engineering software company, to develop the Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) process software for jigs, fixtures, and other tools. The partners work together to set up a series of accessible and customizable DfAM programs for their users. nTopology’s software for additive design is a powerful pairing with Stratasys additive manufacturing systems that can bring high growth in the industry.
NOVEMBER 2020 – Interspectral opens up AM Explorer visualization software to metal AM market
Interspectral, a Swedish software company, released AM Explorer, a visualization software package, to the wider metal additive manufacturing market. AM Explorer enables a company to explore, monitor, and analyze data from its metal 3D printing processes. It allows users to analyze design files, simulation, and machine monitoring data, post-build metrology data from a process and helps them explore and understand the system.
NOVEMBER 2020 – Markforged launches its new cloud and ML-based 3D printing platform – the Digital Forge
Markforged, a 3D printer manufacturer (metal and carbon fiber), introduced a new industrial cloud and machine learning (ML)-based 3D printing software platform – Digital Forge. The platform is intended to link all Markforged’s systems together and is used to print both, metal and carbon fiber-reinforced parts from a single browser tab. It shares and receives printer data on an ongoing basis, enabling the use of the latest advancements over the cloud.
NOVEMBER 2020 – Fusion3 releases reactor 3D printing software powered by Create it REAL
Fusion3, a North Carolina-based 3D printer manufacturer, introduced the REACTOR 3D printing software for use with its FDM 3D printers. The software is powered by REALvision, the slicing engine by a Danish company, Create it REAL. Its proprietary adaptive print algorithms help REACTOR software enhance its print quality and performance. The partnership with Create it REAL brings new features and capabilities into the product to deliver high-performance and affordable 3D printers to commercial and professional customers.