Since 3D printing solutions are increasingly being adopted across different industries, there is an obvious need for solutions that streamline the process of creating parts at every step. Workflow management software for additive manufacturing, also known as MES software, or additive manufacturing execution systems, is a kind of software that can track and document every step of how raw materials become finished products. AM MES solutions have been designed to meet the specific needs of additive manufacturing. A software like this ensures that all steps of the process – from modeling to slicing, to printing, to processing – can be optimized and tracked through one easy interface. In addition, many of this software will track the entire process from purchase to shipment, making them especially important for printing service bureaus given the number of products they produce every month. In these circumstances, why should a business adopt this software? Why would it be beneficial? What are the limitations?
Additive manufacturing workflow software: why should a company adopt it?
The increased use of workflow management software in additive manufacturing is one of the reasons why companies working in 3D printing are changing their workflows. In particular, it is vital when a company produces large quantities of 3D-printed parts.
What are the benefits of this software for AM businesses?
In addition to improving file management, the central system also allows for greater collaboration. In this system, information about a project can be accessed by all stakeholders since it is all located in one place rather than being held by several people in several places. Another benefit, of course, is that such optimizations will theoretically increase a company’s return on investment. A faster and more efficient AM process can enable the fabrication of more parts. Process optimization is made possible by additive manufacturing workflow solutions.
Since it is uncertain when people will be able to see each other during the pandemic instead of sending emails or bringing huge files to the lab (made more difficult over the recent months), parts can be ordered quickly and be ready for immediate use in 24 hours. With a single software solution, all billing, reporting, and data for inventory management are automatically completed when components are ordered. As a result of this web-based approach, we at Layers.app are able to make the application available to our entire development and purchasing teams to give them easy access to the 3D file viewer. With so many people working remotely, the remote control is particularly important. Software that creates AM workflows can help eliminate, or at least reduce, these problems. In addition, this software is especially useful when combining different Additive manufacturing technologies.
How do you resolve the remaining weaknesses?
The system still has some limitations. The main drawback issues with the software are its limitations in terms of quality management, even though it is versatile. Compatibility with ISO standards, for instance, is not an easy job. It makes sense that as 3D printing becomes increasingly important for prototyping and end-use products, quality management and better standardization will become increasingly important.
In most cases, workflow management software solutions have a limited scope. There are some companies that automate quoting, but they don’t offer any solutions after the quote. The others have good project management systems, but their clients are unable to collaborate with them.
There is still a lot that can be done to streamline and automate processes with workflow solutions. Once the part design is complete, the part should be printed as soon as possible, and the replacement stock order should go out immediately.
As a final note
It has been found that AM workflow management software is ideally suited to 3D printing service bureaus and large OEMs. Businesses can truly see the value of 3D printing when they are printing large quantities of parts. Therefore, additive manufacturing can really benefit all sorts of companies that use it. From conception to post-processing to shipping to clients, the ability to organize the entire manufacturing process is crucial to businesses in an era where workers are increasingly expected to work from home.