3D Printers in a Manufacturing Environment

Setting Up an AM Process

As Materialise has both a prototyping facility as well as a manufacturing facility in-house, we are very aware of the fact that setting up a manufacturing process with 3D printers is different from setting up a process to create prototypes.

While the focus in a prototyping environment is on flexibility and short delivery times, the focus in a manufacturing process is on repeatability and traceability. Manufacturing series in 3D printing can vary from one piece (e.g. a custom implant) to thousands of pieces so process validation and control is very important.

Materialise Streamics is a unique process control tool made specifically for use in 3D printing environments. Its research mode allows you to make optimal use of the opportunities and flexibility of 3D printing, while its validation mode guides you through the process in a controlled way. Automation is incorporated as much as possible in order to increase efficiency and reduce human error. One unique example of automation in a 3D printing environment is the ability to print unique identifiers on every part.

Materialise Streamics is also the single database where all process-related data (STL file revisions, part positioning, materials, powder batches, etc.) are stored. And, thanks to integration with 3D printers (using the Build Processors), you can also store machine parameters and log files together with your data.Maintaining records of your data allows you to trace back part information, optimize your process and create reports in an efficient way.

Our team of process consultants has expertise that covers a range of fields including medical, aerospace, automotive and industrial, and together with your team they can help define the optimal process for your business.