A major way that this bilateral communication provides users with more control is by sharing essential data, such as the Build Time Estimator. This feature displays how long a machine will take so that users can learn from that data to make decisions sooner and improve production scheduling. Additionally, back-and-forth machine communication also promotes the traceability of printed, or soon-to-be-printed, parts. Live data clearly indicates machine status, while log data is saved over time and pinpoints the exact procedures each part has been through, which can then be imported into Streamics for further management. This software has the capability to capture that information and generate corresponding reports, allowing users can learn from these past trends to make improvements on future production processes.
Software does indeed automate many processes, allowing operators to focus on more worthwhile tasks, but it also provides users with extremely valuable data to further improve workflows. The bidirectional communication between printers and software ensures that projects run smoothly all while providing real-time data to users and enabling them to enhance traceability and the machine organization.
Securing projects from end-to-end
In addition to these efficiency enhancements, two-way communication also improves an issue on many people’s minds — additive manufacturing security.
In a world where technology is king, cybersecurity has been a growing concern for those that are unsure about converting to digital manufacturing. In order to protect intellectual property, it’s essential to control who has access to which files and what they can do with them at each and every step of the additive manufacturing process.
This is where digital rights management comes into play. If a design gets into the hands of the wrong person, confidentiality is at stake. According to Rebecca, "When we think about digital rights management, it helps to keep the integrity of data and give confidence to customers that all their IP and all that thought that they put into a design will be protected." Materialise and HP both recognize that improving 3D printing security is crucial and are taking steps towards implementing additional security measures.
Data protection in action
Together, they pursued an opportunity to step up security in a project with Superfeet, developers of 3D-printed insoles.