Say Hello to AMFG: A New Era of Autonomous Manufacturing
27 June 2018
Automation is at the heart of who we are at AMFG. Additive manufacturing is changing rapidly, as it makes the transition from rapid prototyping to end-part production. Sales of AM systems continue to rise as more companies invest in the technology. The era of “smart” or digitalised manufacturing, it seems, is here.
But for all the advantages that additive manufacturing provides (shorter product development cycles, faster time-to-market and greater design freedom just to name a few), AM production requires a large amount of data preparation, production management and post-processing.
Thus, as companies move from experimenting with 3D printing to using it as a viable production method for end parts, they will ultimately face the challenge of how to effectively manage this process.
Which is where automation comes in.
Making Additive Manufacturing Viable at Scale
AMFG, short for Autonomous Manufacturing, is based on the premise that automation is the future of additive manufacturing.
With additive manufacturing increasingly recognised as a production method for end parts, companies are looking for ways to develop and scale their processes for the technology.
Currently, much of the AM production steps are undertaken manually, often using paper-based processes. For example, an AM department may use spreadsheets to track parts along the production workflow, and manually create jobs sheets to identify parts post production.
However, if additive manufacturing to become economically viable at scale, a new approach is needed. At AMFG, we believe that automation will be the key to unlocking the full potential of additive manufacturing.
That is why we’ve launched a brand new, AI-driven automation software platform, developed to streamline every stage of the additive manufacturing process and create a new era of autonomous manufacturing.
The result? More efficiency, higher productivity and greater traceability.
A New Way
The launch of our software platform, AMFG, is a big step towards our vision of a digitalised, autonomous additive manufacturing process.
In concrete terms, this means utilising real-time production data, alongside machine learning algorithms, to obtain enhanced insight into the manufacturing process. From documenting production specifications and requirements to ensuring full process repeatability, automation software like AMFG optimises the AM production process and maximises the chances of a successful production run.
More specifically, AMFG has been developed to automate three primary steps:
- Project handling
- Production management
- Post productionFrom the moment a CAD file is received, AMFG tracks each action, ensuring that any step in the workflow can be identified when needed. From real-time intelligence reports to automated repair and build analyses, AMFG uses the latest in machine intelligence and digital technology to enable AM departments to run a smooth and efficient production process.
Our project automation tools, for example, use machine learning algorithms to perform printability analyses and ensure that 3D models are optimised for production — leading to a significant decrease in the time needed to assess and verify a file for production.Similarly, through production automation, key tasks such as machine scheduling, build analysis and post-production tracking no longer need to be done manually, but can be streamlined for a more efficient workflow.
From RP Platform to AMFG
Our vision of an autonomous additive manufacturing process also explains our recent rebranding to AMFG.
While Autonomous Manufacturing has always been our company name, making the complete rebrand to AMFG perfectly encapsulates the evolution of our software to cover the entire additive manufacturing process for both end parts and prototypes.
A statement from our CEO, Keyvan Karimi, illustrates our vision:
“Our vision is for our software solution to enable autonomous additive manufacturing. While 3D printing has the potential to transform manufacturing, we’ve seen the lack of a scalable production process as a key barrier. Our software closes this gap by incorporating machine learning algorithms to provide an end-to-end solution for the 3D printing manufacturing process.”
We understand that this is just the beginning. As additive manufacturing technology continues to evolve, so too will our software. Moving towards an autonomous manufacturing process will mean connecting and communicating directly with AM systems, and ensuring that the machines have the capabilities to intelligently report on and optimise production.
However, with over 70% of manufacturers reported to be implementing 3D printing already in some way (PwC, 2016), the technology has a bright future ahead. We look forward to unveiling more of our software platform, as we aim to take additive manufacturing to a whole new era of automated and autonomous production.