Hexagon Industrializes Additive Manufacturing via Open Ecosystem Strategy

The manufacturing intelligence division at Hexagon (Stockholm, Sweden) recently revealed plans to build what it says is the industry’s most flexible and open additive manufacturing (AM) ecosystem to help overcome complexities in three-dimensional (3-D) printing processes. Through this process, Hexagon vows to better support customers in effectively building their product development and manufacturing workflows.

“We are often printing complex parts of varying size and shapes, and we need to get them right the first time,” says Alex Redwood, head of design AM at Additive Industries. “Our unconstrained base plate technology is particularly important to simulate accurately when it comes to the behavior of large components during build. We have found that Hexagon’s Simufact Additive build simulation captures this behavior incredibly well with short simulation times. We look forward to pushing the limits of industrial AM design and exploring other synergies through the projects we are currently undertaking.”

With several new additions to the ecosystem announced in late 2021 and many more underway, Hexagon’s suite of AM partners and products is becoming comprehensive. The company says it plans to continue building an open ecosystem from concept to customer, with a shared purpose of high quality revealed at 3-D printing industry event Formnext 2021, where the challenges of industrializing AM were at the forefront of discussions.

 “Far from Industry 4.0 creating a ‘connected’ end-to-end supply chain, today many 3-D printers and protocols are creating ‘walled kingdoms’ of hardware that are incompatible with certain CAE [computer-aided engineering] tools, and vendors are introducing machines with proprietary connectivity, standards, and protocols designed not to work with machinery from rivals,” says Paolo Guglielmini, president of the manufacturing intelligence division.

“Just as large manufacturers drove the provision of open factory automation, it’s important we vendors now break down barriers to new manufacturing technologies that offer more flexibility and efficiency,” he adds. “Instead, open data standards should be seen as a growth enabler.”

Hexagon’s AM ecosystem offers customers a broad spectrum of solutions as a result of working closely with material suppliers (e.g., Solvay and COVESTRO), printer and machine-tool companies (e.g., Stratasys, Markforged, Renishaw, Additive Industries, Sciaky, GEFERTEC, and Meltio), software and platform providers (e.g., Authentise, CADS Additive, and Elise), and service bureaus.

Through open collaboration, Hexagon is helping manufacturers to build confidence in performance, quality, and repeatability, while allowing customers to integrate new AM technologies with their existing solutions, tools, and workflows, according to the company. Solutions that leverage Hexagon and ecosystem partners are used by every part of the supply chain, from part producers to global original equipment manufacturers, with a common goal of producing high-quality parts to global industrial standards.

Source: Hexagon, www.hexagon.com.